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Sensing and Reasoning have Similar Representational Requirements

By Chris Thornton


The cognitive significance of representation continues to be the subject of some debate. Some see representation as an integral part of cognition. Others see it as unnecessary or counter-productive, although there is often agreement that representation must be required at the level of reasoning, since by definition this operates on representational tokens. But, using information theory within the framework of Bayesian networks, the paper shows that representation is required not just at the level of reasoning, but also at the level of sensing. The achievement of informational efficiency in a sensory process requires use of representational constructs. Though these are nothing like the disembodied world models of representationalist tradition, they do have all the properties needed for representation at the cognitive level. The indication is then that sensing and reasoning have similar representational requirements. The implications this has for the representation debate are considered

Topics: theoretical cognitive science, sensory informatics, embedded representation
Year: 2008
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