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On the matter of memory

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TitleInfo
Title
On the matter of memory
SubTitle
neural computation and the mechanisms of intentional agency
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Morgan
NamePart (type = given)
Alexander D.
NamePart (type = date)
1977-
DisplayForm
Alexander Morgan
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
author
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Egan
NamePart (type = given)
Frances
DisplayForm
Frances Egan
Affiliation
Advisory Committee
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
chair
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Matthews
NamePart (type = given)
Robert
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Robert Matthews
Affiliation
Advisory Committee
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
co-chair
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Gallistel
NamePart (type = given)
Charles R.
DisplayForm
Charles R. Gallistel
Affiliation
Advisory Committee
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
internal member
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Piccinini
NamePart (type = given)
Gualtiero
DisplayForm
Gualtiero Piccinini
Affiliation
Advisory Committee
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
outside member
Name (type = corporate)
NamePart
Rutgers University
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
degree grantor
Name (type = corporate)
NamePart
Graduate School - New Brunswick
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
school
TypeOfResource
Text
Genre (authority = marcgt)
theses
OriginInfo
DateCreated (qualifier = exact)
2014
DateOther (qualifier = exact); (type = degree)
2014-05
Place
PlaceTerm (type = code)
xx
Language
LanguageTerm (authority = ISO639-2b); (type = code)
eng
Abstract (type = abstract)
Humans and other animals are intentional agents; they are capable of acting in ways that are caused and explained by their reasons. Reasons are widely held to be mediated by mental representations, but it is notoriously difficult to understand how the intentional content of mental representations could causally explain action. Thus there is a puzzle about how to `naturalize' intentional agency. The present work is motivated by the conviction that this puzzle will be solved by elucidating the neural mechanisms that mediate the cognitive capacities that are distinctive of intentional agency. Two main obstacles stand in the way of developing such a project, which are both manifestations of a widespread sentiment that, as Jerry Fodor once put it, ``notions like computational state and representation aren't accessible in the language of neuroscience''. First, C. Randy Gallistel has argued extensively that the mechanisms posited by neuroscientists cannot function as representations in an engineering sense, since they allegedly cannot be manipulated by the computational operations required to generate structurally complex representations. Second, William Ramsey has argued that neural mechanisms in fact do not function as representations in an explanatory sense, since the explanatory role they play is more like that of a causal relay rather than an internal `stand-in' for external entities. I argue that the criticisms developed by Gallistel and Ramsey rest on a misapplication of relevant theoretical notions from computer science, and an impoverished appreciation of the rich variety of mechanisms posited in contemporary neuroscience. My central argument, though, is that the conception of representation presupposed by those researchers, according to which representations have the same abstract structure as the external systems they represent, encompasses states in all sorts of systems, including mindless systems such as plants. Thus these `structural representations' are not distinctively cognitive representations, and although they play an important explanatory role in neuroscience and other disciplines, they cannot on their own elucidate the nature of intentional agency. I conclude by sketching some ways in which neuroscientists are beginning to elucidate the representational mechanisms that do mediate distinctively cognitive capacities. Thus, by removing the obstacles put in place by Gallistel and Ramsey, this work clears a path toward the `naturalization' of agency in terms of neural mechanisms.
Subject (authority = RUETD)
Topic
Philosophy
RelatedItem (type = host)
TitleInfo
Title
Rutgers University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Identifier (type = RULIB)
ETD
Identifier
ETD_5527
PhysicalDescription
Form (authority = gmd)
electronic resource
InternetMediaType
application/pdf
InternetMediaType
text/xml
Extent
x, 373 p. : ill.
Note (type = degree)
Ph.D.
Note (type = bibliography)
Includes bibliographical references
Note (type = statement of responsibility)
by Alexander D. Morgan
Subject (authority = ETD-LCSH)
Topic
Intentionalism
Subject (authority = ETD-LCSH)
Topic
Intentionality (Philosophy)
Subject (authority = ETD-LCSH)
Topic
Memory
Subject (authority = ETD-LCSH)
Topic
Cognitive neuroscience
RelatedItem (type = host)
TitleInfo
Title
Graduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Identifier (type = local)
rucore19991600001
Location
PhysicalLocation (authority = marcorg); (displayLabel = Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey)
NjNbRU
Identifier (type = doi)
doi:10.7282/T3F47MFF
Genre (authority = ExL-Esploro)
ETD doctoral
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Rights

RightsDeclaration (ID = rulibRdec0006)
The author owns the copyright to this work.
RightsHolder (type = personal)
Name
FamilyName
Morgan
GivenName
Alexander
Role
Copyright Holder
RightsEvent
Type
Permission or license
DateTime (encoding = w3cdtf); (qualifier = exact); (point = start)
2014-04-15 16:50:10
AssociatedEntity
Name
Alexander Morgan
Role
Copyright holder
Affiliation
Rutgers University. Graduate School - New Brunswick
AssociatedObject
Type
License
Name
Author Agreement License
Detail
I hereby grant to the Rutgers University Libraries and to my school the non-exclusive right to archive, reproduce and distribute my thesis or dissertation, in whole or in part, and/or my abstract, in whole or in part, in and from an electronic format, subject to the release date subsequently stipulated in this submittal form and approved by my school. I represent and stipulate that the thesis or dissertation and its abstract are my original work, that they do not infringe or violate any rights of others, and that I make these grants as the sole owner of the rights to my thesis or dissertation and its abstract. I represent that I have obtained written permissions, when necessary, from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis or dissertation and will supply copies of such upon request by my school. I acknowledge that RU ETD and my school will not distribute my thesis or dissertation or its abstract if, in their reasonable judgment, they believe all such rights have not been secured. I acknowledge that I retain ownership rights to the copyright of my work. I also retain the right to use all or part of this thesis or dissertation in future works, such as articles or books.
Copyright
Status
Copyright protected
Availability
Status
Open
Reason
Permission or license
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Technical

RULTechMD (ID = TECHNICAL1)
ContentModel
ETD
OperatingSystem (VERSION = 5.1)
windows xp
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