Towards a General Theory of Antirepresentationalism

Garzón, Francisco Calvo
September 2008
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science;Sep2008, Vol. 59 Issue 3, p259
Academic Journal
This work represents an attempt to stake out the landscape for dynamicism based on a radical dismissal of the information-processing paradigm that dominates the philosophy of cognitive science. In Section 2, after setting up the basic toolkit of a theory of minimal representationalism, I introduce the central tenets of dynamic systems theory (DST) by discussing recent research in the dynamics of embodiment (Thelen et al. [2001]) in the perseverative-reaching literature. A recent proposal on the dynamics of representation—the dynamic field approach (Spencer and Schöner [2003])—according to which the alleged representational gap between DST and representational theories of cognition needs to be bridged in order to explain higher-order cognitive activity will then be reviewed. In Section 3 I shall argue that Spencer and Schöner's attempt to bridge the representational gap may jeopardize the whole (antirepresentationalist) spirit of the DST project. In order to show why, I shall introduce the key concepts of "reliability of environment" and "primagenesis", and argue that DST can account for de-coupled, offline cognitive activity with no need of positing representational resources. Conclusions and directions for future research will follow.


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