The goal of this paper is to argue that the ontological status of representations can only be evaluated within a theory. In other words, what counts as representation, or whether a certain representation is better than another one, depends solely on the (level of) description of the phenomenon under scrutiny. It is shown how “representation”, being a semantic notion, can be defined in terms of the notion “meaning”. For cognitive science, in particular, it follows that representations, functioning as mere descriptive devices to facilitate one’s goal of explaining and modeling brain/thought processes, cannot in and by themselves give rise to ontological or epistemological claims.


Cognitive Science Ontological Status Assembly Language Semantic Notion Ontological Parsimony 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthias Scheutz
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer Science & Engineering DepartmentUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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