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Mon, 24 Jan

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Samuel D. Taylor (University of Kent) Cognitive Instrumentalism about Mental Representations

Time & Location

24 Jan 2022, 16:00 – 17:30

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Abstract

Representationalists  and anti-representationalists disagree about whether a naturalisation  of mental content is possible and, hence, whether positing mental  representations in cognitive science is justified. Here, I develop a  novel way to think about mental representations based on a philosophical  description of (cognitive) science inspired by cognitive  instrumentalism. On this view, our acceptance of theories positing  mental representations and our beliefs in (something like) mental  representations do not depend on the naturalisation of content. Thus, I  conclude that if we endorse cognitive instrumentalism about mental  representations, then we can finally leave the dispute between  representationalism and anti-representationalism behind.

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