Open Access

Explaining Cognitive Phenomena with Internal Representations: A Mechanistic Perspective


Despite the fact that the notion of internal representation has - at least according to some - a fundamental role to play in the sciences of the mind, not only has its explanatory utility been under attack for a while now, but it also remains unclear what criteria should an explanation of a given cognitive phenomenon meet to count as a (truly, genuinely, nontrivially, etc.) representational explanation in the first place. The aim of this article is to propose a solution to this latter problem. I will assume that representational explanations should be construed as a form of mechanistic explanations and proceed by proposing a general sketch of a functional architecture of a representational cognitive mechanism. According to the view on offer here, representational mechanisms are mechanisms that meet four conditions: the structural resemblance condition, the action-guidance condition, the decouplability condition, and the error-detection condition.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Philosophy, other