Title
Neural representations not needed : no more pleas, please Neural representations not needed : no more pleas, please
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Arts. Philosophy
Publication type
article
Publication
Dordrecht ,
Subject
Philosophy
Source (journal)
Phenomenology and the cognitive sciences. - Dordrecht
Volume/pages
13(2014) :2 , p. 241-256
ISSN
1568-7759
ISI
000336379900003
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Colombo (Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 2012) argues that we have compelling reasons to posit neural representations because doing so yields unique explanatory purchase in central cases of social norm compliance. We aim to show that there is no positive substance to Colombo's plea-nothing that ought to move us to endorse representationalism in this domain, on any level. We point out that exposing the vices of the phenomenological arguments against representationalism does not, on its own, advance the case for representationalism one inch-beyond establishing its mere possibility. We criticize the continual confounding of constitutive and explanatory claims and the lack of recognition of a Hard Problem of having to provide a naturalistic account of content, coupled with an inability to face up to it. We point at the inadequacy of various deflationary moves that end up driving representationalists towards the idea of neural representations with non-standard contents or without content altogether, both of which either render neural representationalism unfit for purpose or vacuous. Referring to possibilities for neural manipulation and control, or to established scientific practice does not help representationalism either.
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