Comment on Ryder's SINBAD Neurosemantics: Is Teleofunction Isomorphism the Way to Understand Representations?


  • I want to thank Chris Eliasmith and Nick Zangwill for a critical reading of the commentary and helpful discussions.

*Department of Psychology, Birkbeck College, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX, England.


Abstract:  The merit of the SINBAD model is to provide an explicit mechanism showing how the cortex may come to develop detectors responding to correlated properties and therefore corresponding to the sources of these correlations. Here I argue that, contrary to the article, SINBAD neurosemantics does not need to rely on teleofunctions to solve the problem of misrepresentation. A number of difficulties for the teleofunction theories of content are reviewed and an alternative theory based on categorization performance and statistical relations is argued to provide a better account and to come closer to the practice in neuroscience and to powerful intuitions on swampkinds and on broad/narrow content.