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.
KeywordsRepresentation 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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