Body language: representation in action by Mark Rowlands

By Mark Rowlands

In Body Language, Mark Rowlands argues that the matter of representation—how it truly is attainable for one merchandise to symbolize another—has been exacerbated by way of the assimilation of illustration to the class of the observe. that's, the matter is characteristically understood as one in every of touching on internal to outer—relating an internal representing merchandise to whatever extrinsic or external to it. Rowlands argues that no less than a few circumstances of illustration have to be understood no longer by way of the notice yet of the deed. task, he claims, is an invaluable template for brooding about illustration; our representing the realm is composed, partly, in yes different types of activities that we practice in that international. this isn't to assert easily that those varieties of appearing can facilitate illustration yet that they're themselves representational. those kinds of actions—which Rowlands calls deeds—do no longer in basic terms exhibit or re-present earlier intentional states. they've got an self sufficient representational status.
After introducing the suggestion of the deed as a "preintentional act," Rowlands argues that deeds can fulfill informational, teleological, combinatorial, misrepresentational, and decouplability constraints—and so qualify as representational. He places those rules of illustration into perform through interpreting the deeds fascinated by visible notion. Representing, Rowlands argues, is whatever we do on the planet up to within the head. Representing doesn't cease on the epidermis, on the border among the representing topic and the realm; representing is representational "all the way in which out."

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Perhaps it is not— in which case we might find it necessary to postulate some form of internal-processing operations that somehow supplement or embellish the information contained in the array. Even if this is so, however, one thing is clear. We cannot begin to estimate what internal processing an organism needs to accomplish unless we already understand how much information is available to that organism in its optic array. The more information available to the organism in its optic array, the less internal processing the organism needs to perform.

What the perceiving organism does, in effect, is manipulate a structure external to it— the optic array—to make available to itself information that it can then use to navigate its environment. If information relevant to perception is contained in the array, then manipulating the array to make this information available is, in effect, a form of information processing. Vehicle Externalism 37 The key to this account is the idea of effecting transformations in an information-bearing structure in such a way as to make available to the perceiving organism information that was, prior to this, present (at least conditionally) but unavailable.

Consider now (2) and (3). The key idea here is that by acting on the optic array, and thus transforming it, the perceiving organism is able to make available to itself information that was, prior to this action, present—at least conditionally— but not immediately available. When an observer moves, the entire optic array is transformed, and such transformations contain information about the layout, shapes, and orientations of objects in the world. The transformation of the array makes available to the organism information that was, prior to the action, there in only a conditional or dispositional form.

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