Foundations Of Cognitive Science


A representation, in general, does two basic jobs: Firstly, a representation is directed towards (stands for, points out, indicates, refers to, denotes, represents) some object or state of affairs. Secondly, the representation says something about that object or state of affairs. For instance, at the moment you are looking at a computer screen. Some part of you (generally taken to be a neurological part) represents the computer in front of you. The computer itself is what is called the object of this representation, the thing it is directed towards. But you don't just represent the computer simpliciter, you represent it as having certain properties, such as being at a certain place, being turned on, running a web browser, displaying the U of A Cog Sci Dictionary entry on Representation, and so on. These properties you represent the object as having, are what is called the content of the representation.