The paper focuses on Uriah Kriegel’s non-relational account of representation, based on the rejection of the widely shared assumption that “representing something involves (constitutively) bearing a relation to it”. Kriegel’s approach is briefly compared with another version of non-relational theory presented by Mark Sainsbury. The author discusses several reasons why the relational aspect of representation should stand in the centre of our theoretical interest, despite the arguments of non-relationists. They concern (1) the origin of the very capacity to represent in our interactions with elements of our external environment; (2) the externalist arguments attempting to show that some of our states and acts are irreducibly embedded in our relations with external environment and these relations play an in-eliminable role in the constitution of their content; (3) the fact that representations typically have conditions of satisfaction which relate the representing states or acts to the external world in such a way that if the conditions are not fulfilled, this counts as a representation-failure; (4) the fact that the representation ascriptions are often based relationally and the claim that two subjects think about the same often admits only relational interpretation. The author concludes by pointing to the wide variety of phenomena called “representation” and argues that there is no a priori reason to presuppose that all such cases admit, or even require a unified analysis.
Institute of Philosophy, Academy of Science of the Czech Republic, Jilská 1, 110 00 Prague 1, Czech Republic
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