Mental Explicitness: The Case of Representational Contents

  • Pierre Steiner


This paper aims at answering the question “When is informational content explicitly represented in a (human) cognitive system?”. I first distinguish the explicitness this question is about from other kinds of explicitness that are currently investigated in philosophy of mind, and situate the components of the question within the various conceptual frameworks that are used to study mental representations. I then present and criticize, on conceptual and empirical grounds, two basic ways of answering the question, the first one coming from the classical computational theory of mind, the latter one issued from a procedural conception of informational contents. I then argue for a new answer to the initial question, an answer that retains some valuable insights of the criticized theories, but which underlines the importance and the interpretational source of the distinctiveness proper to explicitly represented contents.