, Volume 191, Issue 15, pp 3639–3648 | Cite as

Representation-hunger reconsidered

  • Jan Degenaar
  • Erik MyinEmail author


According to a standard representationalist view cognitive capacities depend on internal content-carrying states. Recent alternatives to this view have been met with the reaction that they have, at best, limited scope, because a large range of cognitive phenomena—those involving absent and abstract features—require representational explanations. Here we challenge the idea that the consideration of cognition regarding the absent and the abstract can move the debate about representationalism along. Whether or not cognition involving the absent and the abstract requires the positing of representations depends upon whether more basic forms of cognition require the positing of representations.


Representation Representation-hungry problem The absent  The abstract Imagery Thought 



For discussion and comments we like to thank Anna Ciaunica, Matteo Colombo, Sanneke de Haan, Bas Donders, Paul Loader, Victor Loughlin, Bence Nanay, Kevin O’Regan, Nigel Thomas, Jan van Eemeren, Martin Weichold, Karim Zahidi, and the anonymous reviewers. The work was supported by ERC Advanced grant 323674 “FEEL” of J. Kevin O’Regan, the Research Council of the University of Antwerp (project “Imagery as Perceptual Activity”), and the Research Foundation - Flanders (Belgium) (FWO) (projects G0B5312N and G048714N).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire Psychologie de la PerceptionUniversité Paris DescartesParisFrance
  2. 2.Centre for Philosophical PsychologyUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpenBelgium

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