Complexity and the Function of Mind in Nature by Peter Godfrey-Smith

By Peter Godfrey-Smith

This ebook is one other contribution to the sequence Cambridge reviews in Philosophy and Biology. it's an formidable try and clarify the connection among intelligence and environmental complexity, and in so doing to hyperlink philosophy of brain to extra basic concerns concerning the family among organisms and environments, and to the final development of "externalist" reasons. it is a hugely unique philosophical venture that might entice a huge swath of philosophers, specially these operating within the philosophy of biology, philosophy of brain, and epistemology.

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Additional resources for Complexity and the Function of Mind in Nature

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Representing the world is something we do in the world as much as in the head. Representing is representational all the way out! This I shall refer to as the thesis of representation in action. 2 Content Externalism 1 Weak and Strong Externalism The idea that action can play at least some role in explaining the nature of representation is one associated with views of the mind that fall under the broad rubric externalism. Externalism, however, takes different forms, and these differences are not only important in themselves but also crucial for our purposes.

According to the assimilation of representation to the word, a representation-token is a concrete, particular, inner configuration, presumably neural, possessing, and perhaps individuated by, higher-order physical or functional properties. This concrete, particular, internal configuration is the bearer, or vehicle, of content. This characterization is, admittedly, vague, and I shall do a lot more work tidying up at the beginning of the next chapter. But it suffices for present purposes. To think about the vehicles of content in this way is to be an internalist about them.

To claim that only the former constitutes genuine information processing seems little more than an internalist prejudice. 9 This book is not the place to rehearse these arguments further. In chapter 5, I shall examine a recent form of vehicle externalism tailored specifically to visual perception. And this may be taken as providing additional arguments for being a vehicle externalist. But, my primary interest in this book is not in establishing the truth of vehicle externalism, but rather in developing a certain conception of representation that coheres with vehicle-externalist principles.

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