Tobias Schlicht, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
25. Oktober 2018 16:45-18:45 Uhr 3B NIG
Intentionality vs. Representation
Abstract: Recent philosophical debates of cognition are characterized by a clash between representationalist and anti-representationalist views. In this talk, I discuss various implications of some radical anti-representationalist views of cognition and what they have to offer with regard to the naturalization of intentionality and the explanation of cognitive phenomena. The focus is on recent arguments that perception and basic forms of cognition are intentional but not representational and that cognition is co-extensive with life. After introducing the debate on the naturalization of intentionality, I review different varieties of Enactivism and introduce their central claims. I’ll start by evaluating the advantages of an autopoietic-enactive approach to the naturalization of intentionality and then turn to Radical Enactivism (Hutto & Myin 2013, 2017) and discuss three major issues: First, what is supposed to replace the representational analysis of perception in a radical-enactive explanation of perception? How does the enactive explanation of perception compare to the best scientific work on the neuroscience of perception? In this context, I address Gibson’s claim, central for Enactivism, that we can directly perceive affordances. Second, what is – on an enactive account – the function of neural processing in the brain for the generation of perception if not to produce representations? This question is especially pressing since one implication of Enactivism is that even the simplest organisms, i.e. single-celled organisms, have cognitive capacities. Since such simple creatures lack brains and nervous systems, enactivists must specify the contribution of the brain and nervous system in those animals who have them.