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Egan, Frances, , . Computational models: a modest role for content
2010, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41(3): 253-259.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

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.

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Gopnik, Alison, , . The Child as Scientist
1996, Philosophy of Science 63 (4):485-514
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by:

Abstract: This paper argues that there are powerful similarities between cognitive development in children and scientific theory change. These similarities are best explained by postulating an underlying abstract set of rules and representations that underwrite both types of cognitive abilities. In fact, science may be successful largely because it exploits powerful and flexible cognitive devices that were designed by evolution to facilitate learning in young children. Both science and cognitive development involve abstract, coherent systems of entities and rules, theories. In both cases, theories provide predictions, explanations, and interpretations. In both, theories change in characteristic ways in response to counterevidence. These ideas are illustrated by an account of children’s developing understanding of the mind.

Comment: In the mindreading debate, this is one of the main papers arguing for Theory Theory. It offers a good introduction of the theory as well as empirical support. It is suitable in a second or third year module on social cognition.

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Siegel, Susanna, , . Do Experiences Have Contents?
2010, In Bence -Nanay (ed.), Perceiving the World. Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by: Will Hornett

Summary: This paper argues that despite the differences between perception and belief, perception involves states that are importantly similar to beliefs: conscious visual experiences. According to the Content View, these experiences have contents in the form of accuracy conditions. The paper develops and defends the Content View, discusses its significance, and argues that contrary to what is often supposed, the Content View is compatible with Naive Realist disjunctivism.

Comment: It is a fairly difficult paper because it has some technical sections and her main argument is rather dense. However, it is generally very clearly written, with numerous helpful examples, and a broad discussion of views on contemporary debate on perception. This paper could be used in a senior year or postgraduate course on the philosophy of perception as seminar reading since it is a detailed and controversial discussion of the metaphysics of perception. It has also been central to recent debates. It is is useful to teach alongside Thomas Raliegh's "Phenomenology Without Representation" (2013).

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