Reflection on the content and the reference of the Idea of Representation
Review of Vacariu et al.'s Toward a very idea of representation
..."the debates in Cognitive Science focus on the problem of representation. Unfortunately, these debates regard either representational format(as in the computationalism-connectionism debate), or the problem of representational content(as in representationalism-antirepresentationalism debate), but they are not concerning with the nature of representation.
Thus one question legitimaly arises: how can beyond of these debates? Our believe is that what completely misses in Cognitive Science is an abstract theory of representation by means of wich it is possible to go beyond of these debates"(Vacariu et al. 2001, 290).
"Authors like Mundy, Swoyer, Suppes, Mormann and Ibara, etc., dealt with a general theory of representation. Thus, it is not about creating a new abstract theory of representation, but only to search wich theory is fitting best with the problem of mental representations.
For instance, the concept of Swoyer's structural representation (an isomophism from relational system A regarded as a set of the physical objects to the relational system B regarded as a set of the numerical entities) grasps the aspects of symbolic representations..."(291)
"The general theory of representation releases by Mundy is based on structured and unstructured representations. The unstructured representations are different to the structured representations in the sense that the elements of set A are mapped to elements of B by a function f wich is understood to represents the numerical relations of the elements of A, but the numerical and physical relations are not explicitly specified (Mundy 1986). We believe that this concept can capture the aspects of connectionst representations wich can not be isolated, each computing unit being involved in representing several things.
In the case of dynamical systems theory maybe it is improper to talk effectively about the notion of representation. But we can identify some structures that are preserved through the continuous changing within the state space."(Vacariu et al. 2001, 291).
I agreed that the intention of exceed certain disagreements can be intersting and good.
But, Vacariu et al. suggested, by they article title, that the abstract theories that they presented, at least, tend towards the idea of representation.
I consider that the idea of representation is older that the Cognitive Sciences.
In addition, this idea is sometimes improperly used.
I will propose a content as the content of the idea of representation and I will compare the previous three ideas with my idea.
For Edelman, representation is not similar with something from environment, but it present similarities between cognitive or conscious contents/informations.
Clark considered that,"A representation is a certain stored information wich stands-in for something, its function being that of carrying specific information. However, the bear existence of a correlation between a certain inner state and some bodily or outer parameters is not enough to establish the representational status of that inner state, more important being the nature and the complexity of correlation"(Clark 1997) cf.Vacariu et
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