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Sophia, Colección de Filosofía de la Educación

versión On-line ISSN 1390-8626versión impresa ISSN 1390-3861


BERNACHE MALDONADO, Fabián. The explanatory function of the notion of internal representation. Sophia [online]. 2021, n.31, pp.265-290. ISSN 1390-8626.

The aim of this paper is to present an objection to one of the main principles of the Representational Theory of Mind (RTM): the idea that the notion of internal representation has a central function in the explanation of cognitive activity. According to the RTM, the cognitive life of an organism basically consists in the formation, processing, and storage of internal representations. Such representations are viewed as concrete objects or events that are able to causally influence the cognitive processes of organisms. Presented as a dilemma, the objection aims to show the intrinsic difficulties of the postulation of internal representations, given the way in which these representations and their operation have been conceived in the framework of the RTM itself. The question that introduces to the dilemma is: in virtue of which properties does an internal representation influence the cognitive activity of an organism? Two answers are possible: in virtue of its representational properties or in virtue of its no representational properties. Employing an argumentative methodology, the problematic consequences of both answers to the dilemma will be shown and two important examples from the literature will be discussed to illustrate these difficulties. The main conclusion of the paper is that the notion of internal representation is unable to satisfy the explanatory function that has been assigned to it by the RTM itself.

Palabras clave : cognition; explanation; information; function; normativity; causality.

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