Practical Mental Representations

February 16, 2023 - February 17, 2023
Department of Philosophy, Schmid College of Science and Technology, Chapman University

United States

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

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Chapman University

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It seems undeniable that mental representations have a practical dimension, whether it is for planning future actions, for identifying present action possibilities, for reasoning about practical matters, for acquiring practical skills, etc. However, most philosophers who endorse representationalism usually think of mental representations as having truth, veridicality, or accuracy conditions, that is, success conditions of a broadly descriptive kind. But if mental representations have descriptive contents, how exactly do they fulfil their fundamentally practical functions? How can a description, whether accurate or inaccurate, itself motivate or set the normative standards for any sort of practical engagement with the world?  This workshop aims at exploring more and less known solutions to this problem. We encourage participants to propose novel and original views of the content and format of mental representations designed to bridge the apparent gap existing between the descriptive normativity evoked by notions like accuracy or veridicality and the more practical kind of normativity involved in processes like intending, acting intentionally, or performing skillfully.

The workshop will consist of talks by two invited keynote speakers, two submitted talks, and a series of activities focused on encouraging the active participation of Chapman undergraduate students.

We ask that, upon confirming attendance to the workshop, all speakers and senior commentators commit to taking up the role of facilitator during small group discussions with students.

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