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Perceptual representations: a teleosemantic answer to the breadth-of-application problem


Schulte, Peter (2015). Perceptual representations: a teleosemantic answer to the breadth-of-application problem. Biology & Philosophy, 30(1):119-136.

Abstract

Teleosemantic theories of representation are often criticized as being “too liberal”, i.e. as categorizing states as representations which are not representational at all. Recently, a powerful version of this objection has been put forth by Tyler Burge. Focusing on perception, Burge defends the claim that all teleosemantic theories apply too broadly, thereby missing what is distinctive about representation. Contra Burge, I will argue in this paper that there is a teleosemantic account of perceptual states that does not fall prey to this problem, and that we can arrive at this account by combining some of Burge’s insights with a producer-oriented version of teleosemantics. The resulting theory turns out to be attractive and perfectly coherent. By contrast, the coherence of Burge’s own anti-teleosemantic approach becomes quite doubtful under closer examination—or so I will argue.

Abstract

Teleosemantic theories of representation are often criticized as being “too liberal”, i.e. as categorizing states as representations which are not representational at all. Recently, a powerful version of this objection has been put forth by Tyler Burge. Focusing on perception, Burge defends the claim that all teleosemantic theories apply too broadly, thereby missing what is distinctive about representation. Contra Burge, I will argue in this paper that there is a teleosemantic account of perceptual states that does not fall prey to this problem, and that we can arrive at this account by combining some of Burge’s insights with a producer-oriented version of teleosemantics. The resulting theory turns out to be attractive and perfectly coherent. By contrast, the coherence of Burge’s own anti-teleosemantic approach becomes quite doubtful under closer examination—or so I will argue.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Philosophy
Life Sciences > General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Social Sciences & Humanities > History and Philosophy of Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:Philosophy, History and Philosophy of Science, General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Language:English
Date:1 January 2015
Deposited On:07 Jan 2020 10:53
Last Modified:31 Jul 2020 03:45
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0169-3867
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10539-013-9390-2

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