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Synthese

pp 1–18 | Cite as

Structural and indicator representations: a difference in degree, not kind

  • Gregory Nirshberg
  • Lawrence ShapiroEmail author
Article
  • 13 Downloads

Abstract

Some philosophers have offered structural representations as an alternative to indicator-based representations. Motivating these philosophers is the belief that an indication-based analysis of representation exhibits two fatal inadequacies from which structural representations are spared: such an analysis cannot account for the causal role of representational content and cannot explain how representational content can be made determinate. In fact, we argue, indicator and structural representations are on a par with respect to these two problems. This should not be surprising, we contend, given that the distinction between indicator and structural representations is better conceived as one involving degree rather than kind.

Keywords

Structural representation Indication Disjunction problem Content determinacy 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Thanks to two very thorough referees for comments that greatly improved this paper. Thanks also go to Gerard O’Brien for useful discussion, and to Rob Rupert for comments on an earlier draft.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Wisconsin – MadisonMadisonUSA

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