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Philosophical Studies

, Volume 170, Issue 1, pp 115–135 | Cite as

How to think about mental content

  • Frances EganEmail author
Article

Introduction: representationalism

Most theorists of cognition endorse some version of representationalism, which I will understand as the view that the human mind is an information-using system, and that human cognitive capacities are representational capacities. Of course, notions such as ‘representation’ and ‘information-using’ are terms of art that require explication. As a first pass, representations are “mediating states of an intelligent system that carry information” (Markman and Dietrich 2001, p. 471). They have two important features: (1) they are physically realized, and so have causal powers; (2) they are intentional, in other words, they have meaning or representational content. This presumes a distinction between a representational vehicle—a physical state or structure that has causal powers and is responsible for producing behavior—and its content. Consider the following characterization of a device that computes the addition function1: Open image in new window

A physical...

Keywords

Cognitive Capacity Mathematical Content Phenomenal Character Computational Theory Representational Content 
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

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

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