, Volume 101, Issue 3, pp 401–431 | Cite as

Doing without representing?

  • Andy Clark
  • Josefa Toribio


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 behavior. In this paper we first present, and then critically assess, a variety of recent anti-representationalist 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 representational/non-representational dichotomy and to recognize instead a rich continuum of degrees and types of representationality.


Internal Representation Scientific Study Adaptive Behavior Radical View Rich Continuum 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andy Clark
    • 1
  • Josefa Toribio
    • 1
  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentPhilosophy/Neuroscience/Psychology Program Washington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA

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