Intrinsic cognitive models

Jonathan A. Waskan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Theories concerning the structure, or format, of mental representation should (1) be formulated in mechanistic, rather than metaphorical terms; (2) do justice to several philosophical intuitions about mental representation; and (3) explain the human capacity to predict the consequences of worldly alterations (i.e., to think before we act). The hypothesis that thinking involves the application of syntax-sensitive inference rules to syntactically structured mental representations has been said to satisfy all three conditions. An alternative hypothesis is that thinking requires the construction and manipulation of the cognitive equivalent of scale models. A reading of this hypothesis is provided that satisfies condition (1) and which, even though it may not fully satisfy condition (2), turns out (in light of the frame problem) to be the only known way to satisfy condition (3).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-283
Number of pages25
JournalCognitive Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Artificial intelligence
  • Causal reasoning
  • Computer simulation
  • Knowledge representation
  • Philosophy
  • Philosophy of computation
  • Philosophy of mind
  • Psychology
  • Representation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence


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