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Concepts

Edited by Daniel Weiskopf (Georgia State University)
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Summary Concepts are the basic elements of thought. One of their primary functions is to connect the mind to the world; thus, to have a concept is to have available a way of thinking about something. There are concepts of particular individuals, general categories, natural kinds and artifacts, properties and relations, actions and events, and so forth. Concepts are also used in formulating beliefs, desires, plans, and other complex thoughts and judgments. They therefore play an important role in explaining cognitive processes such as categorization, inductive inference, causal reasoning, and decision making.
Key works A collection of influential readings that makes a good starting point in getting acquainted with how theories of concepts have been handled in modern cognitive science is Margolis & Laurence 1999. An overview of the key phenomena that theories of concepts aim to cover, as well as the major theories themselves, can be found in the opening chapters of Prinz 2002. Fodor 1998 presents a critique of the major assumptions lying behind these theories.
Introductions General reviews of the subject may be found in Laurence & Margolis 1999 and Weiskopf 2013.
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Subcategories:See also:History/traditions: Concepts
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  1. R. A. A. (1962). The Concept of Law. [REVIEW] Review of Metaphysics 15 (3):525-525.
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  2. Nicholas Adamson (2000). Concepts and Nativism. Dissertation, Mcgill University (Canada)
    Jerry Fodor has argued that virtually all lexical concepts are innate. I argue against this position, but not, as other have done, on the grounds that the arguments against lexical decomposition upon which Fodor relies are flawed. Rather, I argue that even if lexical concepts cannot be decomposed, the possession conditions for having lexical concepts are nonetheless not innately satisfied.
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  3. Harold J. Allen (1980). P.W. Bridgman and B.F. Skinner on Private Experience. Behaviorism 8 (1):15-29.
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  4. D. Andriopoulos (2006). Basic Concepts in Greek Sceptic Theories of Cognitions. Skepsis 17 (1-2).
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  5. C. L. B. (1967). Concepts of Criticism. Review of Metaphysics 21 (2):382-382.
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  6. K. Bach (2000). Concepts: Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong. Philosophical Review 109 (4):627-632.
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  7. Kent Bach (2000). Concepts. Philosophical Review 109 (4):627-632.
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  8. Jules A. Baisnée (1933). The Concept of Value. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 9:117-133.
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  9. Lynne Rudder Baker (2006). Everyday Concepts as a Guide to Reality. The Monist 89 (3):313-333.
    On September 11, 2001, as everyone knows, the towers of the World Trade Center in New York were attacked. I want to discuss this event in order to motivate a nonreductionist view of the extensions of everyday concepts. Next, I shall set out, and begin to defend, the particular view of nonreductionism that I favor—the Constitution View. Then, I shall consider two venerable metaphysical issues (the nature of vagueness and the mind-independent/mind- dependent distinction) in light of the Constitution View. If (...)
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  10. Nancy E. Baker (1971). The Concept of Concept. Dissertation, Brandeis University
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  11. Bogdan Bakies (1982). Between the Concretist and Abstract Concepts of Being. Roczniki Filozoficzne 30 (1):91.
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  12. Annette Balkema & Henk Slager (eds.) (2002). Concepts on the Move. Rodopi.
    In order to give an impetus to the production of an apparatus of aesthetic concepts, in line with Deleuze and Guattari’s claim to create new concepts for a changing world, this volume publishes statements and discussions of ten Concept on the Move workshops, as well as texts and discussions of the concluding Concept on the Move symposium. The integral outcome of the workshops, the symposium and the discussions does not, however, present some sort of blueprint for the future of visual (...)
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  13. Tirthnath Bandyopadhyay (1994). A Concept Of Man. Indian Philosophical Quarterly 21 (1):1.
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  14. Tamar Barkay (1993). Old Concepts, New Approaches. BioScience 43 (5):342-343.
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  15. Lawrence Barsalou (1987). The Instability of Graded Structure: Implications for the Nature of Concepts. In U. Neisser (ed.), Concepts and Conceptual Development: Ecological and Intellectual Factors in Categorization. Cambridge University Press. 101-140.
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  16. Lawrence W. Barsalou (1993). Flexibility, Structure, and Linguistic Vagary in Concepts: Manifestations of a Compositional System of Perceptual Symbols. In A. Collins, S. Gathercole, Martin A. Conway & P. E. Morris (eds.), Theories of Memory. Lawrence Erlbaum. 1.
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  17. Daniel Workman Barwick (1997). On the Nature of Concepts: An Essay in Metaphysics. Dissertation, State University of New York at Buffalo
    This dissertation proposes an original theory of concepts. Under this theory, concepts are not understood as independent entities, but as the activity of judging that something is the same as or different from something else. This judgment may be intentional or nonintentional. I consider theories of concepts that have been proposed throughout the history of philosophy, and I reject them. I further claim that nonconceptual awareness is impossible.
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  18. David Basinger (1984). The Concept of God. International Philosophical Quarterly 24 (2):203-205.
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  19. James E. Bayley (1991). The Concept of Victimhood. In D. Sank & D. Caplan (eds.), To Be a Victim. Plenum. 53--62.
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  20. David Bell (1996). The Formation of Concepts and the Structure of Thoughts. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 56 (3):583-596.
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  21. Gustav Bergmann & Herbert Hochberg (1957). Concepts. Philosophical Studies 8 (1-2):19 - 27.
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  22. Thomas Berry (1963). The Concept of Man. International Philosophical Quarterly 3 (1):150-153.
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  23. Thomas Berry (1963). The Concept of Man. International Philosophical Quarterly 3 (1):150-153.
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  24. V. Bharadwaja (1988). The Concept of Arthapatti. Indian Philosophical Quarterly 15 (2):113.
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  25. Corinne L. Bloch (2011). Edouard Machery, Doing Without Concepts. Pragmatics and Cognition 19 (1):133-140.
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  26. Manuel Bremer (2008). Conceptual Atomism and Justificationist Semantics. Lang.
    Conceptual atomism of this type is incompatible with many other semantic approaches. One of these approaches is justificationist semantics. This book assumes conceptual atomism.
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  27. P. W. Bridgman (1951). The Nature of Some of Our Physical Concepts. I. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 1 (4):257-272.
  28. P. W. Bridgman (1951). The Nature of Some of Our Physical Concepts--II. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 2 (5):25-44.
  29. P. W. Bridgman (1951). The Nature of Some of Our Physical Concepts. III. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 2 (6):142-160.
  30. Ingo Brigandt (2006). A Theory of Conceptual Advance: Explaining Conceptual Change in Evolutionary, Molecular, and Evolutionary Developmental Biology. Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
    The theory of concepts advanced in the dissertation aims at accounting for a) how a concept makes successful practice possible, and b) how a scientific concept can be subject to rational change in the course of history. Traditional accounts in the philosophy of science have usually studied concepts in terms only of their reference; their concern is to establish a stability of reference in order to address the incommensurability problem. My discussion, in contrast, suggests that each scientific concept consists of (...)
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  31. Karl Britton (1972). Concepts of Action and Concepts of Approval. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 73:105 - 117.
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  32. Andrew Brook (2003). Kant and Cognitive Science. Teleskop.
    Some of Kant's ideas about the mind have had a huge influence on cognitive science, in particular his view that sensory input has to be worked up using concepts or concept-like states and his conception of the mind as a system of cognitive functions. We explore these influences in the first part of the paper. Other ideas of Kant's about the mind have not been assimilated into cognitive science, including important ideas about processes of synthesis, mental unity, and consciousness and (...)
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  33. Denis Buehler (2014). Incomplete Understanding of Complex Numbers Girolamo Cardano: A Case Study in the Acquisition of Mathematical Concepts. Synthese 191 (17):4231-4252.
    In this paper, I present the case of the discovery of complex numbers by Girolamo Cardano. Cardano acquires the concepts of (specific) complex numbers, complex addition, and complex multiplication. His understanding of these concepts is incomplete. I show that his acquisition of these concepts cannot be explained on the basis of Christopher Peacocke’s Conceptual Role Theory of concept possession. I argue that Strong Conceptual Role Theories that are committed to specifying a set of transitions that is both necessary and sufficient (...)
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  34. R. J. C. Burgener (1957). Price's Theory of the Concept. Review of Metaphysics 11 (1):143 - 159.
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  35. Andrew Burton-Jones, Ephraim R. McLean & Emmanuel Monod, Theoretical Perspectives in IS Research: From Variance and Process to Conceptual Latitude and Conceptual Fit.
    There has been growing interest in theory building in Information Systems (IS) research. We extend this literature by examining theory building perspectives. We define a perspective as a researcher’s choice of the types of concepts and relationships used to construct a theory, and we examine three perspectives – process, variance, and systems. We contribute by clarifying these perspectives and explaining how they can be used more flexibly in future research. We illustrate the value of this more flexible approach by showing (...)
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  36. J. R. Busemeyer (1992). Frames, Concepts, and Conceptual Fields. In E. Kittay & A. Lehrer (eds.), Frames, Fields, and Contrasts: New Essays in Semantic and Lexical Organization. Erlbaum.
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  37. Henry Byerly (2010). Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini. What Darwin Got Wrong. [REVIEW] Philosophy in Review 30:255-258.
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  38. James David Byrd (2003). Is a Unified Account of Concepts Possible? Dissertation, University of California, Davis
    This dissertation investigated the extent to which a unified account of concepts was possible. The sense of unification intended was whether a theory of concepts could satisfy two prominent roles psychologists take concepts to play: that they are psychological structures that enable categorization, and that these structures are compositional. Of the three current theories of concepts , prototype theory has been held by the cognitive science community to be the most plausible, and yet there have been substantial criticisms that such (...)
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  39. Edward Calhoun (1960). Human Likeness and the Formation of Empirical Concepts. Review of Metaphysics 13 (3):383 - 395.
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  40. Georges Canguilhem (1966). Le Concept Et la Vie. Revue Philosophique De Louvain 64 (82):193-223.
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  41. Quassim Cassam (2003). A Priori Concepts. In Hans-Johann Glock (ed.), Strawson and Kant. Clarendon Press.
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  42. Arindam Chakrabarti (2006). The Concepts Ofjnana, Prama and Aprama. In Pranab Kumar Sen & Prabal Kumar Sen (eds.), Philosophical Concepts Relevant to Sciences in Indian Tradition. Distributed by Motilal Banarsidass. 1--145.
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  43. Andy Clark & Jesse Prinz, Putting Concepts to Work: Some Thoughts for the 21st Century (a Reply to Fodor).
    Fodor’s theory makes thinking prior to doing. It allows for an inactive agent or pure reflector, and for agents whose actions in various ways seem to float free of their own conceptual repertoires. We show that naturally evolved creatures are not like that. In the real world, thinking is always and everywhere about doing. The point of having a brain is to guide the actions of embodied beings in a complex material world. Some of those actions are, to be sure, (...)
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  44. E. B. Coleman (1964). Verbal Concept Learning as a Function of Instructions and Dominance Level. Journal of Experimental Psychology 68 (2):213.
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  45. Annalisa Coliva (2008). Peacocke's Self-Knowledge. Ratio 21 (1):13–27.
    knowledge. His proposal relies on the claim that first-order mental..
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  46. John M. Collins (2006). Proxytypes and Linguistic Nativism. Synthese 153 (1):69-104.
    Prinz (Perceptual the Mind: Concepts and Their Perceptual Basis, MIT Press, 2002) presents a new species of concept empiricism, under which concepts are off-line long-term memory networks of representations that are ‘copies’ of perceptual representations – proxytypes. An apparent obstacle to any such empiricism is the prevailing nativism of generative linguistics. The paper critically assesses Prinz’s attempt to overcome this obstacle. The paper argues that, prima facie, proxytypes are as incapable of accounting for the structure of the linguistic mind as (...)
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  47. Michel Combès (1969). Le Concept de Concept Formel. Association des Publications de la Faculté des Lettres Et Sciences Humaines de Toulouse.
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  48. David E. Cooper (1973). Grammar and the Possession of Concepts. Journal of Philosophy of Education 7 (2):204–222.
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  49. H. A. D. (1972). Basic Philosophical Analysis. Review of Metaphysics 25 (3):567-567.
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  50. R. D. (1968). The Concept of Willing. Review of Metaphysics 22 (1):159-160.
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