Formats for thinking

Seminar | March 24 | 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 5101 Tolman Hall

 Elisabeth Camp, Rutgers University

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Many philosophers, logicians and psychologists assume an exhaustive and exclusive dichotomy between "imagistic", iconic, or pictorial representations and "discursive", logical, or propositional ones. Others dismiss the distinction as meaningless, on the ground that any content can be captured in propositional terms. Adherents of both positions often conclude that thought -- at least, cognition of any real expressive capacity -- must be implemented in a language-like format. I offer a tour through representational types, identifying how their distinct semantic and syntactic principles produce empirically distinct profiles of expressive, inferential, and implementational powers and limitations, and suggest some desiderata for choosing among representational formats.