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Egan, Frances, and . Representationalism

2012, In Eric Margolis, Richard Samuels & Stephen Stich (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Cognitive Science, OUP, 250-272.

Abstract: Representationalism, in its most widely accepted form, is the view that the human mind is an information-using system, and that human cognitive capacities are to be understood as representational capacities. This chapter distinguishes several distinct theses that go by the name “representationalism,” focusing on the view that is most prevalent in cogntive science. It also discusses some objections to the view and attempts to clarify the role that representational content plays in cognitive models that make use of the notion of representation.

Comment: A very good overview of representationalism. Suitable for a preliminary introduction to the topic.

Egan, Frances, and . Computational models: a modest role for content

2010, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41(3): 253-259.

Abstract: The computational theory of mind construes the mind as an information-processor and cognitive capacities as essentially representational capacities. Proponents of the view claim a central role for representational content in computational models of these capacities. In this paper I argue that the standard view of the role of representational content in computational models is mistaken; I argue that representational content is to be understood as a gloss on the computational characterization of a cognitive process.

Comment: Good paper about the relation of representation and content to computation. Best suited to higher-level courses on the subject.