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Contemporary accounts assume that the computational processes of mind are central. The computational account, or—as it is known—the representational theory of mind (RTM) is dominant in the current literature. Computations performed over amodal, structured symbolic expressions tokened in a neural form is considered to be the main processing mechanism for cognitive states. There are a number of variations on how this is supposed to be achieved, but the metaphor of the mind as a computational system is widespread. Contemporary accounts which stress the processing of non-symbolic, modal, perceptual information is now making an appearance in the cognitive science literature, but this is a minority view Mitchell is sympathetic with the modal-format account, which makes him rather contemporary Contemporary accounts subordinate the phenomenal features of mind to their representational/computational features. Many cognitive scientists are principally interested in how brains represent the world in thought. Phenomenological features of experience are an infuriating problem for computational accounts because they seem to resist explanation in the terms of the RTM. If qualia occur at all—and there is much dissension on the question—they are considered to be another form of representational capacity. Thus, the RTM allows for a variety of representational formats. However, it is not clear how neurally encoding—regardless of format—can capture the “what it is like” of phenomenal experience. Mitchell’s account attempts to outline a variety of representational formats employed by the organism at various stages of its cognitive growth.


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