Эволюция понятия «репрезентация» в философии сознания

Translated title of the contribution: The Historical Evolution of the Notion of Representation in the Philosophy of Mind

Leonid G. Korobkov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


What is it that gives concepts and propositional attitudes their content? There are two alternative strategies that have been developed for giving an answer to this question. One strategy, defended by Jerry Fodor among others, assumes that propositional attitudes are realized by the storage (in the "belief box", using the popular metaphor) of sentences of a language of thought. This view maintains that concepts are mental states which have both representational and causal properties. The author of the article defends a different strategy, which is based on the cognitive conception of language and which accounts for the content of beliefs in terms of the content of the sentences of the public language to which the agent is disposed to assent. The Fodorian strategy needs a distinction between explicit or "core" beliefs and implicit beliefs because it would not be plausible to say that everything believed is explicitly stored. Fodor uses this problem, which was labeled the Frame Problem, to bolster the view that processes that are involved in fixing belief are holistic. A former proponent of computationalism, Fodor later gives it up largely because of the alleged phenomenon that he himself has given the label isotropy. Analogical reasoning is an example of isotropy: it is a process which depends upon the transfer of information among cognitive domains previously assumed to be irrelevant. The author of the article holds that the problem can be solved if to assume that representations or concepts are abilities that are peculiar to cognitive agents rather than mental particulars. He suggests that one's concepts are multi-track dispositions a la Ryle. We can use ordinary language as a guide for distinguishing dispositions from occurrent states. The obvious way to avoid the problem is by appealing to the attention-focusing power of what Marvin Minsky called frames: descriptions of typical situations like going to a birthday party. These data structures list and organize those facts that would normally be relevant. Some variant of the "sleeping dog" solution is adopted: only those parts of the frame that represent facets of the world that have changed are updated, and the rest is simply left as it is. So one can account for one's apparent ability to make decisions on the basis only of what reflects a change in the ongoing situation without having explicitly to consider every part of the frame system.
Translated title of the contributionThe Historical Evolution of the Notion of Representation in the Philosophy of Mind
Original languageRussian
Pages (from-to)39-47
Number of pages9
JournalVestnik tomskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta-Filosofiya-Sotsiologiya-Politologiya-Tomsk state university journal of philosophy sociology and political science
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • relevance problem
  • global workspace
  • massive modularity
  • multi-track disposition
  • representation
  • language of thought


  • 5.04 SOCIOLOGY

State classification of scientific and technological information


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