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Enactivist InterventionsRethinking the Mind$
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Shaun Gallagher

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198794325

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198794325.001.0001

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Action without Representations

Action without Representations

Chapter:
(p.83) 5 Action without Representations
Source:
Enactivist Interventions
Author(s):

Shaun Gallagher

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198794325.003.0005

This chapter develops a critique of representationalist accounts of action. It shows that on any standard definition of representation, concepts such as minimal or action-oriented representations (AORs) are not really representational in any meaningful sense. It’s difficult to maintain, for example, that motor-control processes characterized in terms of AORs are decouplable from the specific action situation, or how they meet other constraints that define a process as representational. I argue that AORs no longer conform to the criteria that would make them representational, and that, at least in the case of action, representations are not required. Accordingly, it’s not clear that the notion of representation is scientifically useful in explanations of action.

Keywords:   action, representation, intention, action-oriented representation, motor control, decouplability, misrepresentation, scientific pragmatism

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