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Teleosemantics, Selection, and Novel Contents

Garson, Justin and Papineau, David (2019) Teleosemantics, Selection, and Novel Contents. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Mainstream teleosemantics is the view that mental representation should be understood in terms of biological functions, which, in turn, should be understood in terms of selection processes. One of the traditional criticisms of teleosemantics is the problem of novel contents: how can teleosemantics explain our ability to represent properties that are evolutionarily novel? In response, some have argued that by generalizing the notion of a selection process to include phenomena such as operant conditioning, and the neural selection that underlies it, we can resolve this problem. Here, we do four things: we develop this suggestion in a rigorous way through a simple example, we draw on recent neurobiological research to support its empirical plausibility, we defend the move from a host of objections in the literature, and we sketch how the picture can be extended to help us think about more complex “conceptual” representations and not just perceptual ones.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Garson, Justinjgarson@hunter.cuny.edu0000-0002-0210-2989
Papineau, Daviddavid.papineau@kcl.ac.uk0000-0002-4345-4905
Keywords: Teleosemantics; biological functions; selected effects theory; novel representations; neural selection
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Function/Teleology
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience > Cognitive Neuroscience
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Concepts and Representations
Depositing User: Dr. Justin Garson
Date Deposited: 01 May 2019 13:38
Last Modified: 01 May 2019 13:38
Item ID: 15963
Official URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10539...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10539-019-9689-8
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Function/Teleology
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience > Cognitive Neuroscience
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Concepts and Representations
Date: June 2019
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15963

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