Thursday, December 20, 2007

An Approach to the Problem of Representation 

Representational Content in Humans and Machines by Mark H. Bickhard (PDF 1993)

This article focuses on the problem of representational content. Accounting for
representational content is the central issue in contemporary naturalism: it is the
major remaining task facing a naturalistic conception of the world.
Representational content is also the central barrier to contemporary cognitive
science and artificial intelligence: it is not possible to understand representation
in animals nor to construct machines with genuine representation given current
(lack of) understanding of what representation is. An elaborated critique is
offered to current approaches to representation, arguing that the basic underlying
approach is, at root, logically incoherent, and, thus, that standard approaches are
doomed to failure. An alternative model of representation — interactivism — is
presented that avoids or solves the problems facing standard approaches.
Interactivism is framed by a version of functionalism, and a naturalization of that
functionalism completes an outline of a naturalization of representation and
representational content."


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