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The Problem with Appealing to History in Defining Neural Representations

Hacohen, Ori (2022) The Problem with Appealing to History in Defining Neural Representations. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Representations seem to play a major role in many neuroscientific explanations. Philosophers have long attempted to properly define what it means for a neural state to be a representation of a specific content. Teleosemantic theories of content which characterize representations, in part, by appealing to a historical notion of function, are often regarded as our best path towards an account of neural representations. This paper points to the anti-representationalist consequences of these accounts. I argue that assuming such teleosemantic views will deprive representations of their explanatory role in computational explanations. My argument rests on the claim that many explanations in cognitive neuroscience are entirely independent of any historical considerations. In making this claim, I will also offer an adapted version of the famous Swampperson thought experiment, which is better suited to discussions of subpersonal neural representations.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Hacohen, Orihacohenori1@gmail.com0000-0001-9757-1202
Keywords: neuroscientific explanations; neural representations; theories of content; teleosemantics; swampperson
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Neuroscience > Cognitive Neuroscience
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Concepts and Representations
Depositing User: Dr. Ori Hacohen
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2022 12:57
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2022 12:57
Item ID: 20773
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Neuroscience > Cognitive Neuroscience
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Concepts and Representations
Date: 1 May 2022
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20773

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