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Neural representations not needed - no more pleas, please

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Colombo (Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 2012) argues that we have compelling reasons to posit neural representations because doing so yields unique explanatory purchase in central cases of social norm compliance. We aim to show that there is no positive substance to Colombo’s plea—nothing that ought to move us to endorse representationalism in this domain, on any level. We point out that exposing the vices of the phenomenological arguments against representationalism does not, on its own, advance the case for representationalism one inch—beyond establishing its mere possibility. We criticize the continual confounding of constitutive and explanatory claims and the lack of recognition of a Hard Problem of having to provide a naturalistic account of content, coupled with an inability to face up to it. We point at the inadequacy of various deflationary moves that end up driving representationalists towards the idea of neural representations with non-standard contents or without content altogether, both of which either render neural representationalism unfit for purpose or vacuous. Referring to possibilities for neural manipulation and control, or to established scientific practice does not help representationalism either.

Publication Date


  • 2014

Citation


  • Hutto, D. D. & Myin, E. (2014). Neural representations not needed - no more pleas, please. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 13 (2), 241-256.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84901041355

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/839

Number Of Pages


  • 15

Start Page


  • 241

End Page


  • 256

Volume


  • 13

Issue


  • 2

Place Of Publication


  • http://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs11097-013-9331-1.pdf

Abstract


  • Colombo (Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 2012) argues that we have compelling reasons to posit neural representations because doing so yields unique explanatory purchase in central cases of social norm compliance. We aim to show that there is no positive substance to Colombo’s plea—nothing that ought to move us to endorse representationalism in this domain, on any level. We point out that exposing the vices of the phenomenological arguments against representationalism does not, on its own, advance the case for representationalism one inch—beyond establishing its mere possibility. We criticize the continual confounding of constitutive and explanatory claims and the lack of recognition of a Hard Problem of having to provide a naturalistic account of content, coupled with an inability to face up to it. We point at the inadequacy of various deflationary moves that end up driving representationalists towards the idea of neural representations with non-standard contents or without content altogether, both of which either render neural representationalism unfit for purpose or vacuous. Referring to possibilities for neural manipulation and control, or to established scientific practice does not help representationalism either.

Publication Date


  • 2014

Citation


  • Hutto, D. D. & Myin, E. (2014). Neural representations not needed - no more pleas, please. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 13 (2), 241-256.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84901041355

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/839

Number Of Pages


  • 15

Start Page


  • 241

End Page


  • 256

Volume


  • 13

Issue


  • 2

Place Of Publication


  • http://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs11097-013-9331-1.pdf