Representation and Radical Empiricism

Rockwell Teed
Language of the article : English
DOI: 10.3406/intel.2013.1064
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Radical Embodied Cognitive Science, defended most prominently by Anthony Chemero, proposes that biological cognition does not require representation. I propose a more moderate position – that biological cognition often relies on continuous analog representation, of the sort described by James' theory of radical empiricism, rather than the discrete digital representations described by the language of thought theory. I concede, however, that analog representations are borderline cases of representation. The most prototypical cases of representation are those hypotheses developed during the process that Dewey called inquiry. Inquiry is necessary only when our harmonious relationship with our environment is disrupted in some way, which in turn requires us to represent that environment as an “other” as we figure out how to restore harmony again. Perception is legitimately describable as “direct” because we do not need to make representations when the organism is in harmony with the environment.

Pour citer cet article :

Rockwell Teed (2013/2). Representation and Radical Empiricism. In Steiner Pierre (Eds), Pragmatism(s) and Cognitive Science, Intellectica, 60, (pp.219-241), DOI: 10.3406/intel.2013.1064.