•  806
    Summary. The viability of the proposal that human cognition involves the utilization of nonsentential models is seriously undercut by the fact that no one has yet given a satisfactory account of how neurophysiological circuitry might realize representations of the right sort. Such an account is offered up here, the general idea behind which is that high-level models can be realized by lower—level computations and, in turn, by neural machinations. It is shown that this account can be usefully app…Read more
  •  654
    Many philosophers of science believe that empirical psychology can contribute little to the philosophical investigation of explanations. They take this to be shown by the fact that certain explanations fail to elicit any relevant psychological events (e.g., familiarity, insight, intelligibility, etc.). We report results from a study suggesting that, at least among those with extensive science training, a capacity to render an event intelligible is considered a requirement for explanation. We als…Read more
  •  287
    Intrinsic cognitive models
    Cognitive Science 27 (2): 259-283. 2003.
    Theories concerning the structure, or format, of mental representation should (1) be formulated in mechanistic, rather than metaphorical terms; (2) do justice to several philosophical intuitions about mental representation; and (3) explain the human capacity to predict the consequences of worldly alterations (i.e., to think before we act). The hypothesis that thinking involves the application of syntax-sensitive inference rules to syntactically structured mental representations has been said to …Read more
  •  247
    Figure 1: A pr ototyp ical exa mple of a three-layer feed forward network, used by Plunkett and M archm an (1 991 ) to simulate learning the past-tense of En glish verbs. The inpu t units encode representations of the three phonemes of the present tense of the artificial words used in this simulation. Th e netwo rk is trained to produce a representation of the phonemes employed in the past tense form and the suffix (/d/, /ed/, or /t/) used on regular verbs. To run the network, each input unit is…Read more
  •  185
    Knowledge of counterfactual interventions through cognitive models of mechanisms
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (3). 2008.
    Here I consider the relative merits of two recent models of explanation, James Woodward's interventionist-counterfactual model and the model model. According to the former, explanations are largely constituted by information about the consequences of counterfactual interventions. Problems arise for this approach because countless relevant interventions are possible in most cases and because it overlooks other kinds of equally relevant information. According the model model, explanations are larg…Read more
  •  128
    Mechanistic explanation at the limit
    Synthese 183 (3): 389-408. 2011.
    Resurgent interest in both mechanistic and counterfactual theories of explanation has led to a fair amount of discussion regarding the relative merits of these two approaches. James Woodward is currently the pre-eminent counterfactual theorist, and he criticizes the mechanists on the following grounds: Unless mechanists about explanation invoke counterfactuals, they cannot make sense of claims about causal interactions between mechanism parts or of causal explanations put forward absent knowledg…Read more
  •  98
    Many philosophers of science follow Hempel in embracing both substantive and methodological anti-psychologism regarding the study of explanation. The former thesis denies that explanations are constituted by psychological events, and the latter denies that psychological research can contribute much to the philosophical investigation of the nature of explanation. Substantive anti-psychologism is commonly defended by citing cases, such as hyper-complex descriptions or vast computer simulations, wh…Read more
  •  63
    Much of the philosophical discussion of explanations has centered around two broad conceptions of what sorts of ‘things’ explanations are – namely, the descriptive and ontic conceptions. Defenders of each argue that scientific psychology has at best little to contribute to the study of explanations. These anti-psychologistic arguments come in two main varieties, the metaphysical and the epistemic. Both varieties trace back to Hempel and recur in the more recent writings of prominent mechanists. …Read more
  •  60
    A vehicular theory of corporeal qualia (a gift to computationalists)
    Philosophical Studies 152 (1): 103-125. 2011.
    I have argued elsewhere that non-sentential representations that are the close kin of scale models can be, and often are, realized by computational processes. I will attempt here to weaken any resistance to this claim that happens to issue from those who favor an across-the-board computational theory of cognitive activity. I will argue that embracing the idea that certain computers harbor nonsentential models gives proponents of the computational theory of cognition the means to resolve the cons…Read more
  •  49
  •  22
    Cognitive Science is a major new guide to the central theories and problems in the study of the mind and brain. The authors clearly explain how and why cognitive science aims to understand the brain as a computational system that manipulates representations. They identify the roots of cognitive science in Descartes - who argued that all knowledge of the external world is filtered through some sort of representation - and examine the present-day role of Artificial Intelligence, computing, psychol…Read more
  •  21
    Jonathan Walkan challenges cognitive science's dominant model of mental representation and proposes a novel, well-devised alternative. The traditional view in the cognitive sciences uses a linguistic model of mental representation. That logic-based model of cognition informs and constrains both the classical tradition of artificial intelligence and modeling in the connectionist tradition. It falls short, however, when confronted by the frame problem---the lack of a principled way to determine wh…Read more
  •  14
    De Facto Legitimacy and Popular Will
    Social Theory and Practice 24 (1): 25-56. 1998.