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Organized Representations Forming a Computationally Useful Processing Structure

Citation: Shea, Nicholas (2023) Organized Representations Forming a Computationally Useful Processing Structure. Synthese . (In Press)


Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0

Peter Godfrey-Smith recently introduced the idea of representational ‘organization’. When a collection of representations form an organized family, similar representational vehicles carry similar contents. For example, where neural firing rate represents numerosity (an analogue magnitude representation), similar firing rates represent similar numbers of items. Organization has been elided with structural representation, but the two are in fact distinct. An under-appreciated merit of representational organization is the way it facilitates computational processing. Representations from different organized families can interact, for example to perform addition. Their being organized allows them to implement a useful computation. Many of the cases where organization has seemed significant, but which fall short of structural representation, are cases where representational organization underpins a computationally useful processing structure.

Creators: Shea, Nicholas (0000-0002-2032-5705) and
Subjects: Philosophy
Keywords: representational theory of mind, representational organization, representational structure, computational processing, semantic content
Divisions: Institute of Philosophy
  • 13 September 2023 (accepted)


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