2016 Undergraduate Awards

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According to tracking theories of mental content, the world we conceive is determined by the world we perceive, and the world we perceive is determined by the mind-independent world as it is. This view is challenged by Kathleen Akins on the grounds that our sensory systems are narcissistic, i.e., they have narrow operational interests and are largely unconcerned with representing objective reality. Yet, if what we conceive is not a veridical representation of the world, how is object-guided action in the world possible? This disconnect is the “representational gap”. This paper will close this gap by arguing that Akins’ concept of narcissism can be extended to describe all non-sensory mental objects: what we conceive is a product of what we perceive, but what we perceive is constrained and determined by what we are (i.e., our morphology) and what we can do (i.e., our potential for action in the world).


This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or less.