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Dimitri Coelho Mollo: Saving Representational Formats: A Teleocomputational View

Time Wednesday 5 October, 2022 at 13:15 - 15:00
Place HUM.H.119 (prev. HD108)

The Research Seminar Series in Philosophy invites you to a seminar with Dimitri Coelho Mollo, who will present co-authored work (with Alfredo Vernazzani, Bochum) with the title "Saving Representational Formats: A Teleocomputational View". 

Abstract: The concept of cognitive representation plays a central, and perhaps indispensable role in cognitive science and AI. In the project of naturalising and explicating the notion, representations are typically analysed in terms of their contents, vehicles and formats. We present a new account of representational formats, the teleocomputational view, whose primary motivation is doing justice to the explanatory roles that appeal to formats play in the cognitive sciences. We argue that the explanatory purchase of formats derives from their accounting for the workings and behavioural consequences of cognitive states and processes in terms of the specific kinds of transformations over vehicles possible within cognitive (sub)systems.

In order to vindicate such explanatory role, we suggest that representational formats should be understood in computational terms. In particular, we propose that representational formats capture specific subsets of the computational features of representational vehicles, namely their dimensions of variation, the values they can take, and the constraints such values impose on the values of other vehicles. The resulting picture is strongly pluralistic, going well beyond the dichotomies that have occupied much of the existing debate on formats.

We show that this computation-based, pluralistic view of formats is better able to satisfy the explanatory needs of the cognitive sciences, insofar as: it is based on the computational framework; it captures states and processes causally relevant to behaviour; it sheds light on the advantages and limitations of different formats for specific tasks; and, courtesy of its reliance on the teleomechanistic view of computation, it makes available the rich heuristic resources made available by the mechanistic framework to explaining formats and their implementation in the brain.

All interested are welcome to participate in this seminar.

About the seminar series

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Event type: Seminar
Staff photo Dimitri Coelho Mollo
Dimitri Coelho Mollo
Other position, assistant professor
Read about Dimitri Coelho Mollo
Pär Sundström
Read about Pär Sundström