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Egan, Frances, , . Representationalism
2012, In Eric Margolis, Richard Samuels & Stephen Stich (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Cognitive Science, OUP, 250-272.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

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.
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Kind, Amy, , . Transparency and Representationalist Theories of Consciousness
2010, Philosophy Compass 5 (10):902-913.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Prosser

Abstract: Over the past few decades, as philosophers of mind have begun to rethink the sharp divide that was traditionally drawn between the phenomenal character of an experience (what it’s like to have that experience) and its intentional content (what it represents), representationalist theories of consciousness have become increasingly popular. On this view, phenomenal character is reduced to intentional content. This article explores a key motivation for this theory, namely, considerations of experiential transparency. Experience is said to be transparent in that we ‘look right through it’ to the objects of that experience, and this is supposed to support the representationalist claim that there are no intrinsic aspects of our experience.

Comment: Useful survey on 'transparency' arguments for representationalism/intentionalism
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Kind, Amy, , . What’s so transparent about transparency?
2003, Philosophical Studies 115 (3):225-244.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Nora Heinzelmann

Abstract: Intuitions about the transparency of experience have recently begun to play a key role in the debate about qualia. Specifically, such intuitions have been used by representationalists to support their view that the phenomenal character of our experience can be wholly explained in terms of its intentional content.[i] But what exactly does it mean to say that experience is transparent? In my view, recent discussions of transparency leave matters considerably murkier than one would like. As I will suggest, there is reason to believe that experience is not transparent in the way that representationalism requires. Although there is a sense in which experience can be said to be transparent, transparency in this sense does not give us any particular motivation for representationalism – or at least, not the pure or strong representationalism that it is usually invoked to support

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Macpherson, Fiona, , . Ambiguous Figures and the Content of Experience
2006, Noûs 40 (1):82-117
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: Representationalism is the position that the phenomenal character of an experience is either identical with, or supervenes on, the content of that experience. Many representationalists hold that the relevant content of experience is nonconceptual. I propose a counterexample to this form of representationalism that arises from the phenomenon of Gestalt switching, which occurs when viewing ambiguous figures. First, I argue that one does not need to appeal to the conceptual content of experience or to judgements to account for Gestalt switching. I then argue that experiences of certain ambiguous figures are problematic because they have different phenomenal characters but that no difference in the nonconceptual content of these experiences can be identified. I consider three solutions to this problem that have been proposed by both philosophers and psychologists and conclude that none can account for all the ambiguous figures that pose the problem. I conclude that the onus is on representationalists to specify the relevant difference in content or to abandon their position.

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Macpherson, Fiona, , . Novel Colours and the Content of Experience
2003, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 84 (2003), 43-66.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Simon Prosser

Abstract: I propose a counterexample to naturalistic representational theories of phenomenal character. The counterexample is generated by experiences of novel colours reported by Crane and Piantanida. I consider various replies that a representationalist might make, including whether novel colours could be possible colours of objects and whether one can account for novel colours as one would account for binary colours or colour mixtures. I argue that none of these strategies is successful and therefore that one cannot fully explain the nature of the phenomenal character of perceptual experiences using a naturalistic conception of representation

Comment: Further reading, raises an interesting objection to intentionalism/representationalism
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Pacherie, Elisabeth, , . Qualia and representations
1999, In Denis Fisette (ed.), Consciousness and Intentionality: Models and Modalities of Attribution. Springer. pp. 119--144.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: Dretske has recently offered a representational theory of perceptual experience – considered as paradigmatic of the qualitative and phenomenal aspects of our mental life. This theory belongs, as do his previous works, to a naturalistic approach to mental representation

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Pérez, Diana, , . Why should our mind-reading abilities be involved in the explanation of phenomenal consciousness?
2008, Análisis filosófico 28(1)
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Juan R. Loaiza

Abstract: In this paper I consider recent discussions within the representationalist theories of phenomenal consciousness, in particular, the discussions between first order representationalism (FOR) and higher order representationalism (HOR). I aim to show that either there is only a terminological dispute between them or, if the discussion is not simply terminological, then HOR is based on a misunderstanding of the phenomena that a theory of phenomenal consciousness should explain. First, I argue that we can defend first order representationalism from Carruthers’ attacks and ignore higher order thoughts in our account of phenomenal consciousness. Then I offer a diagnostic of Carruthers’ misunderstanding. In the last section I consider further reasons to include mindreading abilities in an explanation of phenomenal consciousness.

Comment: This text connects three topics in philosophy of mind in a clear way: representationalism (especially Fodor's LOT), consciousness, and mind-reading. It serves as an example of how to integrate different problems while proposing a provocative claim about them.

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