Adaptive representation

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Adaptive representation is an extension by Francis Heylighen[1] to Kant's theory of knowledge.

According to Kant, perception passes by the filters of the mind who observes the phenomena. In this line, there exists in the human mind invariant and a-priori principles of experience. As an example, one may have imprinted in the brain a Cartesian representation of space, a notion of time, color separation and others. This may be called "static representation".

Heylighen has proposed a revision of these Kantian ideas, in which these principles are not supposed to be invariant and necessary a priori; instead alternative principles exist for the organization of experience in adaptive representations. This opens a path for new investigations in the philosophy of mind and human cognition.


  1. ^ Heylighen, Francis (1990). Representation and Change: A Metarepresentational Framework for the Foundations of Physical and Cognitive Science. Communication and Cognition, Ghent, Belgium.

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