Representationalism or Anti-representationalism?

– Perspectives on Intentionality from Philosophy and Cognitive Science

Notions of intentionality – of linguistic meaning, mental content, aboutness generally– lie at the heart of our conception of ourselves, and of some of our fellow creatures, as perceiving, thinking and acting beings. One central question in much recent philosophy has been whether intentionality, fundamentally, is a matter of representing an independent reality (‘representationalism'), or rather one of enabling adaptive forms of action and interaction (‘anti-representationalism'). In crude metaphors: are thoughts mirrors of reality or tools for coping? Scepticism towards a sharp opposition here is – as ever in philosophy – a third possible line, but this would still require clarifying the relationship between the two, seemingly opposed perspectives.

The main scientific aims of the project are as follows:

  1. The critical exploration of the resources for and challenges facing anti-representationalism in its different guises.
  2. The investigation of interrelations between different representationalist and anti-representationalist conceptions of intentionality, in different domains and approaches (theory of thought, perception, cognitive science etc).

Supported by the Norwegian Research Council ISP-FIDE initiative, the project aims to nurture an intellectual milieu and organizational framework within which individuals and groups in Norway working on intentionality can constructively engage with each other's separate lines of research – lines often drawing on diverse traditions of thought and literatures – and thereby strengthen the overall quality of the work of these groups and individuals.



Pragmatism, Representationalism, and Metaphysics, 4.-5- januar 2017, Helsinki.

I samarbeid med Nordic Pragmatism Network. Inviterte foredragsholdere inkluderer Simon Blackburn, Robert Kraut, Cheryl Misak, Steven Levine and Chiara Ambrosia. Se her for mer informasjon.


Investigating Conscious Acquaintance, 20.-21- juni 2016, Institute of Philosophy, London.

I samarbeid med New Directions in The Study of the Mind.


Photos from Fefor

Photos from the conference Perspectives on intentionality are now posted here


Past events