Biology and Philosophy 34 (3):36 (2019)

Authors
David Papineau
King's College London
Justin Garson
Hunter College (CUNY)
Abstract
Mainstream teleosemantics is the view that mental representation should be understood in terms of biological functions, which, in turn, should be understood in terms of selection processes. One of the traditional criticisms of teleosemantics is the problem of novel contents: how can teleosemantics explain our ability to represent properties that are evolutionarily novel? In response, some have argued that by generalizing the notion of a selection process to include phenomena such as operant conditioning, and the neural selection that underlies it, we can resolve this problem. Here, we do four things: we develop this suggestion in a rigorous way through a simple example, we draw on recent neurobiological research to support its empirical plausibility, we defend the move from a host of objections in the literature, and we sketch how the picture can be extended to help us think about more complex “conceptual” representations and not just perceptual ones.
Keywords Teleosemantics  biological functions  selected effects theory  novel representations  neural selection
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DOI 10.1007/s10539-019-9689-8
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References found in this work BETA

Origins of Objectivity.Tyler Burge - 2010 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Biological Functions and Natural Selection: A Reappraisal.Marc Artiga - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (2):1-22.
Long-Arm Functional Individuation of Computation.Nir Fresco - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13993-14016.

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