Connectionism and classicism, it generally appears, have at least this much in common: both place some notion of internal representation at the heart of a scientific study of mind. In recent years, however, a much more radical view has gained increasing popularity. This view calls into question the commitment to internal representation itself. More strikingly still, this new wave of anti-representationalism is rooted not in ‘armchair’ theorizing but in practical attempts to model and understand intelligent, adaptive be-havior. In this paper we first present, and then critically assess, a variety of recent antirepresentationalist treatments. We suggest that so far, at least, the sceptical rhetoric outpaces both evidence and argument. Some probable causes of this premature scepticism are isolated. Nonetheless, the anti-representationalist challenge is shown to be both important and progressive insofar as it forces us to see beyond the bare representa-tional/non-representational dichotomy and to recognize instead a rich continuum of degrees and types of representationality.
Fodor (1983) claims that the modularity of mind (the relatively encapsulated, insulated, special -purpose nature of the psychological mechanisms of perception) helps undermine relativism in various forms. I shall show first, that the modular vision of mind provides insufficient support for the rejection of (most forms of) relativism, and second, that an alternative (‘neural constructivist’) model may, in fact, provide a better empirical response to the relativist challenge.