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# Representation

Last updated December 25, 2021

## # Symbolic Representation

• Dretske just kinda doesn’t agree w/ the pioneer 10 space probe plate lmao
• symbols will not mean anything to any alien life
• we find it easy to understand because we have the context and we live on this planet
• what sort of things can be representations
• words/pictures/numbers/diagrams
• state of mind, can represent almost anything at all
• what sort of things can be objects of representations
• almost anything (physical objects, sentences, numbers, moods, feelings, emotions, non-existent things)
• pictures represent by resemblance → derivative intentionality
• ‘resemblance theory of pictorial representation’, or the ‘resemblance theory’
• X represents Y → suggests that representation is a relation between two things
• is there a basic type of representation underlying everything else?
• Crane says mental representations are the most basic level
• pictures dont work
• represent by resemblance
• When we try to represent the difference between … and …, if … then …, and either … or … in pictures, we draw a complete blank. There just seems no way of doing it.
• words don’t work either
• represent by convention (see terminology)
• same words in same context mean the same thing to different people
• all other kinds of representation all depend on mental representations in order to work
• many things that we take for granted cannot be represented in terms of pictures → e.g. relations between ideas like “if it doesn’t rain this afternoon, we will go for a walk”
• Mental representations are either naturalistic or conceptual
• naturalistic → matter of correlation, “these spots mean measles”, spots are a reliable indicator of measles
• teach us about the term, they appeal to natural laws and science
• conceptual → “this read light means stop”, matter of convention, connection is arbitrary
• what a competent speaker knows when he/she knows the term

Related thought experiments: Brains in a Vat, Twin Earth Argument