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Acategorial States in a Representational Theory of Mental Processes

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We propose a distinction between precategorial, acategorial and categorial states within a scientifically oriented understanding of mental processes. This distinction can be specified by approaches developed in cognitive neuroscience and the analytical philosophy of mind. On the basis of a representational theory of mental processes, acategoriality refers to a form of knowledge that presumes fully developed categorial mental representations, yet refers to non-conceptual experiences in mental states beyond such established categories. It relies on a simultaneous apprehension of individual representations and their actual 'representational ground', an undifferentiated precategorial state. This simultaneity is possible if the mental state does not reside in a representation but in between representations. Acategoriality can be formally modeled as an unstable state of a dynamical mental system that is subject to particular stability criteria.

Document Type: Research Article

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Publication date: January 1, 2010


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