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Structural Representations do not meet the job description challenge

Facchin, Marco (2021) Structural Representations do not meet the job description challenge. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Structural representations are increasingly popular in philosophy of cognitive science. A key virtue they seemingly boast is that of meeting Ramsey's job description challenge. For this reason, structural representations appear tailored to play a clear representational role within cognitive architectures. Here, however, I claim that structural representations do not meet the job description challenge. This is because even our most demanding account of their functional profile is satisfied by at least some receptors, which paradigmatically fail the job description challenge. Hence, the functional profile typically associated with structural representations does not identify representational posits. After a brief introduction, I present, in the second section of the paper, the job description challenge. I clarify why receptors fail to meet it and highlight why, as a result, they should not be considered representations. In the third section I introduce what I take to be the most demanding account of structural representations at our disposal, namely Gładziejewski's account. Provided the necessary background, I turn from exposition to criticism. In the first half of the fourth section, I equate the functional profile of structural representations and receptors. To do so, I show that some receptors boast, as a matter of fact, all the functional features associated with structural representations. Since receptors function merely as causal mediators, I conclude structural representations are mere causal mediators too. In the second half of the fourth section I make this conclusion intuitive with a toy example. I then conclude the paper, anticipating some objections my argument invites


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Facchin, Marcomarco.facchin@iusspavia.it0000-0001-5753-9873
Keywords: Sub-personal representations; Structural representations; Feature detectors; Eliminativism; Job description challenge
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Concepts and Representations
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Depositing User: Dr. Marco Facchin
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2021 05:54
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2021 05:54
Item ID: 18599
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Concepts and Representations
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: January 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18599

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