Fictionalism about Neural Representations

The Monist 96 (4):539-560 (2013)
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This paper explores a novel form of Mental Fictionalism: Fictionalism about talk of neural representations in cognitive science. This type of Fictionalism promises to (i) avoid the hard problem of naturalising representations, without (ii) incurring the high costs of eliminating useful representation talk. In this paper, I motivate and articulate this form of Fictionalism, and show that, despite its apparent advantages, it faces two serious objections. These objections are: (1) Fictionalism about talk of neural representations ultimately does not avoid the problem of naturalising representations; (2) Fictional representations cannot play the explanatory role required by cognitive science.



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Mark Sprevak
University of Edinburgh

Citations of this work

Being Realist about Bayes, and the Predictive Processing Theory of Mind.Matteo Colombo, Lee Elkin & Stephan Hartmann - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (1):185-220.
A Deflationary Account of Mental Representation.Frances Egan - 2020 - In Joulia Smortchkova, Krzysztof Dołrega & Tobias Schlicht (eds.), What Are Mental Representations? New York, NY, United States of America: Oxford University Press.

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References found in this work

Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
Convention: A Philosophical Study.David Kellogg Lewis - 1969 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Reason, truth, and history.Hilary Putnam - 1981 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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