Mini curso: Pieces of Mind


Mini-seminar: Pieces of Mind

Kevin Lande
University of Antwerp, Centre for Philosophical Psychology.

February 1, 2019

   The state you are in when you see a yellow frisbee has at least two parts:  a state of seeing the frisbee’s yellowness and a state of seeing the frisbee’s cir-cularity. The state you are in when you have the thought that cemitas are delicious has at least two parts: a state that represents cemitas and a state  that represents being delicious. Descriptions like these of the part-whole struc- tures of mental states are central to how contemporary cognitive science makes  sense of our mental lives. Such claims have also been invoked by philosophers to characterize the natures of our mental capacities and how those capacities differ. But what does it even mean to say that one mental state is a “part” of another? We will look at the various roles that attributions of part-whole structure (“representational structure,” “constituent structure,” “syntax”) to mental states have played in psychology and, especially, vision science.

   We will focus especially on the prevailing assumption that the structure of a mental state cannot be evaluated independently of how that state is generated and employed by the relevant psychological systems. We will discuss whether this is a genuine constraint on attributions of structure.

(* = highly recommended)

General philosophical arguments for structured mental representations:

 1. ∗ Fodor, J. A. (1987). Why there still has to be a language of thought. In Psychose-mantics: The Problem of Meaning in the Philosophy of Mind, pages 135-154. The MIT Press.

Examples (old and new) of structural hypotheses in vision science:

2. *Palmer, S. E. (1977). Hierarchical structure in perceptual representation. Cognitive Psychology, 9(4):441-474.

3. Garrigan, P. and Kellman, P. (2011). The role of constant curvature in 2-d contour shape representations. Perception, 40(11):1290-1308.

Empirically oriented, philosophical arguments about the structure of visual object representations:

4. Green, E. and Quilty-Dunn, J. (2017). What is an object file?, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, axx055.

Classic argument that structural hypotheses cannot be evaluated independently of processing hypotheses:

5. Anderson, J. R. (1978). Arguments concerning representations for mental imagery. Psycho logical Review, 85(4):249-277.






Actualizado Ene 22 de 2019
  Feb 20 de 2019
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