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Representations reclaimed: Accounting for the co-emergence of concepts and experience

Parthemore, Joel LU and Morse, Anthony F. (2010) In Pragmatics & Cognition 18(2). p.273-312
Abstract
Understanding the relationship between concepts and experience seems necessary to specifying the content of experience, yet current theories of concepts do not seem up to the job. With Peter Gärdenfors's conceptual spaces theory as a foundation and with enactivist philosophy as inspiration, we present a proposed extension to conceptual spaces theory and use it to outline a model of the emergence of concepts and experience. We conclude that neither is ultimately primary but each gives rise to the other: i.e., that they co-emerge. Such a model can then serve as the anchor to a theory of concepts more generally. Concepts are most naturally understood in symbolic and representational terms, while much of experience, in contrast, is... (More)
Understanding the relationship between concepts and experience seems necessary to specifying the content of experience, yet current theories of concepts do not seem up to the job. With Peter Gärdenfors's conceptual spaces theory as a foundation and with enactivist philosophy as inspiration, we present a proposed extension to conceptual spaces theory and use it to outline a model of the emergence of concepts and experience. We conclude that neither is ultimately primary but each gives rise to the other: i.e., that they co-emerge. Such a model can then serve as the anchor to a theory of concepts more generally. Concepts are most naturally understood in symbolic and representational terms, while much of experience, in contrast, is non-symbolic and non-representational; yet the conflict between the two will, herein, be shown to be more apparent than real. The main contribution of this paper is to argue for, by means of this account of co-emergence, a continuum between "low-level" mental content that is more appropriately understood in highly context-sensitive and directly sensorimotor-based terms, and "high-level" mental content that is more appropriately understood in context-free and representational or symbolic terms. In doing so we conclude that the extreme positions of representationalism and anti-representationalism are fatally flawed. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
sensorimotor, representation, mental representation, enaction, conceptual spaces, concept, sensorimotor profile, symbol
in
Pragmatics & Cognition
volume
18
issue
2
pages
273 - 312
publisher
John Benjamins Publishing Company
external identifiers
  • Scopus:77955736309
ISSN
0929-0907
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
9fbfc11e-3149-4ba0-a493-124f9c835501 (old id 1717706)
date added to LUP
2010-12-16 09:51:06
date last changed
2016-11-13 04:31:18
@misc{9fbfc11e-3149-4ba0-a493-124f9c835501,
  abstract     = {Understanding the relationship between concepts and experience seems necessary to specifying the content of experience, yet current theories of concepts do not seem up to the job. With Peter Gärdenfors's conceptual spaces theory as a foundation and with enactivist philosophy as inspiration, we present a proposed extension to conceptual spaces theory and use it to outline a model of the emergence of concepts and experience. We conclude that neither is ultimately primary but each gives rise to the other: i.e., that they co-emerge. Such a model can then serve as the anchor to a theory of concepts more generally. Concepts are most naturally understood in symbolic and representational terms, while much of experience, in contrast, is non-symbolic and non-representational; yet the conflict between the two will, herein, be shown to be more apparent than real. The main contribution of this paper is to argue for, by means of this account of co-emergence, a continuum between "low-level" mental content that is more appropriately understood in highly context-sensitive and directly sensorimotor-based terms, and "high-level" mental content that is more appropriately understood in context-free and representational or symbolic terms. In doing so we conclude that the extreme positions of representationalism and anti-representationalism are fatally flawed.},
  author       = {Parthemore, Joel and Morse, Anthony F.},
  issn         = {0929-0907},
  keyword      = {sensorimotor,representation,mental representation,enaction,conceptual spaces,concept,sensorimotor profile,symbol},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {273--312},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0xceb8c70)},
  series       = {Pragmatics & Cognition},
  title        = {Representations reclaimed: Accounting for the co-emergence of concepts and experience},
  volume       = {18},
  year         = {2010},
}