To account for the explanatory role representations play in cognitive science, Egan's deflationary account introduces a distinction between cognitive and mathematical contents. According to that account, only the latter are genuine explanatory posits of cognitive-scientific theories, as they represent the arguments and values cognitive devices need to represent to compute. Here, I argue that the deflationary account suffers from two important problems, whose roots trace back to the introduction of mathematical contents. First, I will argue that mathematical contents do not satisfy important and widely accepted desiderata all theories of content are called to satisfy, such as content determinacy and naturalism. Secondly, I will claim that there are cases in which mathematical contents cannot play the explanatory role the deflationary account claims they play, proposing an empirical counterexample. Lastly, I will conclude the paper highlighting two important implications of my arguments, concerning recent theoretical proposals to naturalize representations via physical computation, and the popular predictive processing theory of cognition.

Troubles with mathematical contents

Facchin, M
2022-01-01

Abstract

To account for the explanatory role representations play in cognitive science, Egan's deflationary account introduces a distinction between cognitive and mathematical contents. According to that account, only the latter are genuine explanatory posits of cognitive-scientific theories, as they represent the arguments and values cognitive devices need to represent to compute. Here, I argue that the deflationary account suffers from two important problems, whose roots trace back to the introduction of mathematical contents. First, I will argue that mathematical contents do not satisfy important and widely accepted desiderata all theories of content are called to satisfy, such as content determinacy and naturalism. Secondly, I will claim that there are cases in which mathematical contents cannot play the explanatory role the deflationary account claims they play, proposing an empirical counterexample. Lastly, I will conclude the paper highlighting two important implications of my arguments, concerning recent theoretical proposals to naturalize representations via physical computation, and the popular predictive processing theory of cognition.
Representation
content
mathematical contents
computation
implementation
adversarial examples
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12076/12777
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