The Nature of Representation

Postgraduate students

Nick Tasker (project PhD student), Will Gamester (project PhD student).


Mental representation — perception and cognition — unites humans and other animals. Linguistic representation differentiates humans from other animals. But representation in either form is a phenomenon that cries out for explanation. How does one thing—a volley of sensation, a pattern of neurons firing in the head, or a sequence of sounds or written marks—“stand for” or “represent” another? However we answer this question, what are the means by which we find out about it? And for what purposes do we need to appeal to representation in the first place?

The Nature of Representation is a five-year project, funded by the European Research Council, on the metaphysics and epistemology of representation. The project is located at the University of Leeds under the direction of Robert Williams (School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science).

Project website