Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 165–180 | Cite as

Analog Representation and the Parts Principle

  • John KulvickiEmail author


Analog representation is often cast in terms of an engineering distinction between smooth and discrete systems. The engineering notion cuts across interesting representational categories, however, so it is poorly suited to thinking about kinds of representation. This paper suggests that analog representations support a pattern of interaction, specifically open-ended searches for content across levels of abstraction. They support the pattern by sharing a structure with what they represent. Continuous systems that satisfy the engineering notion are exemplars of this kind because they are uninterpretable unless they are structure-preserving. Analog representations, so understood, include pictures, images, diagrams, and most graphs. This conception of analogicity also fits well with a line of thought about what makes perceptual states distinctive: they satisfy a “parts principle”.


Perceptual State Representational Content Color Photo Fourth Condition Analog Representation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA

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