SOPhiA 2021

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Representation as representation-as
(Philosophy of Mind, )

A I argue that: Representation as representation-as (RAR) Necessarily, for any subject S, object o and time t, if S refers to o at t (by thinking of o or perceiving o), then there is a way "such that S represents o as" at t. First, I motivate RAR by showing that it is independently plausible. Then I will show that the arguments presented against this view are not sound. Susanna Schellenberg (2018) argues that RAR entails that perception has to have a sentential format while perception could have a map-like or pictorial structure. She has also argued that perceptual reference requires discriminating the referent and even if there are cases of representation-as they must be grounded in discrimination. Regarding the former, I argue that not only does RAR not entail that perception has to have a sentential structure. But also it is hard to see how an image of some object o can represent o without representing it as having certain properties--certain color, shape, location, etc. Regarding the latter objection, I argue that even if Schellenberg were right that perceiving o required discriminating it, that would still entail RAR. Jerry Fodor (1981, 2009) and Zenon Pylyshyn (2004, 2007, 2009) have argued that this view leads to an infinite regress which makes object representation impossible in the first place. In response, I will show that their argument relies on an assumption that is not detailed by RAR. I will also argue that this further assumption is false for independent reasons. Pylyshyn and Storm (1988) argue, based on their multiple object tracking studies, that if visual representation requires representation-as, then subjects must represent not only objects but also their properties and their changes over time. They claim that this is not possible due to our computational limitations. I will argue that i) many of the crucial assumptions that this argument relies on are not supported by their empirical work on multiple object tracking. Also, I will argue that ii) there are other highly plausible accounts of multiple object tracking that are significantly less demanding in terms of the computational resources that subjects need to employ. I discuss blindsight seeing, Balint's syndrome, inattentional blindness, and other neuro-psychological conditions and show that they could not be accounted for if RAR were false.

Chair: Martin Niederl
Time: 17:30-18:00, 09 September 2021 (Thursday)
Location: SR 1.005
Remark: (Online Talk)

Ayoob Shahmoradi  
(University of California, San Diego, )

Testability and Meaning deco