Representing Time of Day in Circadian Clocks


Positing representations and operations on them as a way of explaining behavior was one of the major innovations of the cognitive revolution. Neuroscience and biology more generally also employ representations in explaining how organisms function and coordinate their behavior with the world around them. In discussions of the nature of representation, theorists commonly differentiate between the vehicles of representation and their content—what they denote. Many contentious debates in cognitive science, such as those pitting neural network models against symbol processing accounts, have focused on the types of vehicles proposed for mental representation and whether they have the appropriate structure to succeed in bearing their contents. Philosophers, in contrast, have focused their debates on content and the particular way in which vehicles might bear content—that is, the process of representing rather than the format of representations. I will offer a novel answer to the question of how it is that a representation has content by focusing on the architecture of representation. My proposal is that representations occur in a particular type of mechanism—one in which a control system regulates a plant—and that we can gain traction on cognitive systems of representation by considering how this works in physical systems more generally.

Download options


    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,856

External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

  • Only published works are available at libraries.


Added to PP

157 (#77,037)

6 months
2 (#257,750)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

William Bechtel
University of California, San Diego

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references

Similar books and articles

Cognitive Models and Representation.Rebecca Kukla - 1992 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 43 (2):219-32.
Content and Its Vehicles in Connectionist Systems.Nicholas Shea - 2007 - Mind and Language 22 (3):246–269.
Intention and Motor Representation in Purposive Action.Stephen Andrew Butterfill & Corrado Sinigaglia - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (1):119-145.
Mental Representation From the Bottom Up.Dan Lloyd - 1987 - Synthese 70 (January):23-78.
Representation and a Science of Consciousness.Andrew R. Bailey - 2007 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (1):62-76.
Summary.D. J. Chalmers - 2013 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 28 (1):171-173.