Abstract

Several accounts of representation in cognitive systems have recently been proposed. These look for a theory that will establish how a representation comes to have a certain content, and how these representations are used by cognitive systems. Covariation accounts are unsatisfactory, as they make intelligent reasoning and cognition impossible. Cummins' interpretation-based account cannot explain the distinction between cognitive and non-cognitive systems, nor how certain cognitive representations appear to have intrinsic meaning. Cognitive systems can be defined as model-constructers, or systems that use information from interpreted models as arguments in the functions they execute. An account based on this definition solves many of the problems raised by the earlier proposals.

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