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Summary This contains works that deal substantively with concepts but do not fall into any particular category delimited elsewhere. Many of these works focus on the relationship of concepts to language and the lexicon, and therefore center on concept-word relations. Others deal with conceptual combination and problems of compositionality.
Key works Since this area is by its nature something of a heterogeneous grab-bag, there are no key works that serve to introduce it.
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  1. Marc Artiga (2014). Prinz's Naturalistic Theory of Intentional Content. Critica 46 (136):69-86.
    This paper addresses Prinz's naturalistic theory of conceptual content, which he has defended in several works (Prinz, 2000; 2002; 2006). More precisely, I present in detail and critically assess his account of referential content, which he distinguishes from nominal or cognitive content. The paper argues that Prinz's theory faces four important difficulties, which might have significant consequences for his overall empiricist project.
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  2. Jocelyn Benoist (2010). Concepts: Introduction à L'Analyse. Les Éditions du Cerf.
    Qu'est-ce qu'un concept ? Cette question concerne au premier chef ceux qui ont fait du concept une profession : chercheurs dans les diverses sciences, humaines ou non, et travailleurs intellectuels en général. Plus largement, elle exprime cette curiosité naturelle, non dénuée d'inquiétude, à laquelle toute pensée, commune ou savante, semble exposée et qui nous pousse à souhaiter, sans savoir sans doute exactement ce que nous recherchons par là, une détermination plus exacte de ce que nous entendons par « pensée ». (...)
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  3. James Blackmon, David Byrd, Robert C. Cummins, Pierre Poirier, Martin Roth & George Schwarz (2001). Systematicity and the Cognition of Structured Domains. Journal of Philosophy 98 (4):1-19.
    The current debate over systematicity concerns the formal conditions a scheme of mental representation must satisfy in order to explain the systematicity of thought.1 The systematicity of thought is assumed to be a pervasive property of minds, and can be characterized (roughly) as follows: anyone who can think T can think systematic variants of T, where the systematic variants of T are found by permuting T’s constituents. So, for example, it is an alleged fact that anyone who can think the (...)
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  4. Andy Blunden (2012). Concepts: A Critical Approach. Brill.
    This book offers an overview of theories of the Concept, drawing on the philosopher Hegel and the Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky. Concepts are shown to be both units of the mind and units of a cultural formation.
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  5. Margaret A. Boden (ed.) (1990). The Philosophy of AI. Oxford University Press.
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  6. Radu J. Bogdan (1989). What Do We Need Concepts For? Mind and Language 4 (1-2):17-23.
    If we are serious about concepts, we must begin by addressing two questions: What are concepts for, what is their job? And what means are available in an organism for concepts to do their job? One is a question of raison d'.
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  7. Denny E. Bradshaw (1992). The Nature of Concepts. Philosophical Papers 21 (1):1-20.
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  8. Robert B. Brandom (2002). Overcoming Aduality of Concepts and Causes: A Unifying Thread in Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind. In R.M. Gale (ed.), Blackwell Guide to Metaphysics. Blackwell.
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  9. M. J. Cain (2004). The Return of the Nativist. Philosophical Explorations 7 (1):1-20.
    Radical Concept Nativism (RCN) is the doctrine that most of our concepts are innate. In this paper I will argue in favour of RCN by developing a speculative account of concept acquisition that has considerable nativist credentials and can be defended against the most familiar anti-nativist objections. The core idea is that we have a whole battery of hard-wired dispositions that determine how we group together objects with which we interact. In having these dispositions we are effectively committed to an (...)
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  10. Elisabeth Camp (2009). Putting Thoughts to Work: Concepts, Systematicity, and Stimulus-Independence. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (2):275-311.
    I argue that we can reconcile two seemingly incompatible traditions for thinking about concepts. On the one hand, many cognitive scientists assume that the systematic redeployment of representational abilities suffices for having concepts. On the other hand, a long philosophical tradition maintains that language is necessary for genuinely conceptual thought. I argue that on a theoretically useful and empirically plausible concept of 'concept', it is necessary and sufficient for conceptual thought that a thinker be able to entertain many of the (...)
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  11. Peter Carruthers (ed.) (2007). The Innate Mind: Foundations and the Future. Oxford University Press, USA.
    Concerned with the fundamental architecture of the mind, this text addresses questions about the existence & extent of human innate abilities, how these inate ...
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  12. Peter Cook (1998). Thinking the Concept Otherwise. Symposium: The Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy 2 (1):23-35.
    In What is Philosophy?, Deleuze and Guattari think the concept of concept otherwise. In keeping with Deleuze’s professed empiricism, he and Guattari study various concepts and ‘extract’ a new concept of the concept. This constructive method does not illuminate how and why their proposed concept differs from the traditional. This paper considers how Deleuze and Guattari’s concept does differ, as a first step towards arriving at some evaluation of their analysis.Dans Qu’est-ce que la philosophie?, Deleuze et Guattari pensent le concept (...)
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  13. Chris Daly (2007). Wandering Significance: An Essay on Conceptual Behaviour. – Mark Wilson. Philosophical Quarterly 57 (228):498–501.
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  14. Peter Gardenfors (1997). Meanings as Conceptual Structures. In Martin Carrier & Peter K. Machamer (eds.), Mindscapes: Philosophy, Science, and the Mind. Pittsburgh University Press.
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  15. Christopher Gauker (2011). Concepts Are Not Icons. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (3):127.
    Carey speculates that the representations of core cognition are entirely iconic. However this idea is undercut by her contention that core cognition includes concepts such as object and agency, which are employed in thought as predicates. If Carey had taken on board her claim that core cognition is iconic, very different hypotheses might have come into view.
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  16. Christopher Gauker (2005). On the Evidence for Prelinguistic Concepts. Theoria-Revista De Teoria Historia y Fundamentos De La Ciencia 20 (3):287-297.
    Language acquisition is often said to be a process of mapping words into pre-existing concepts. Some researchers regard this theory as an immediate corollary of the assumption that all problem-solving involves the application of concepts. But in light of basic philosophical objections to the theory of language acquisition, that kind of rationale cannot be very persuasive. To have a reason to accept the theory of language acquisition despite the philosophical objections, we ought to have experimental evidence for the existence of (...)
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  17. Christopher Gauker (2005). On the Evidence for Prelinguistic Concepts. Theoria 20 (3):287-297.
    Language acquisition is often said to be a process of mapping words into pre-existing concepts. If that is right, then we ought to be able to obtain experimental evidence for the existence of concepts in prelinguistic children. One line of research that attempts to provide such evidence is the work of Paul Quinn, who claims that looking-time results show that four--month old infants form “category representations”. This paper argues that Quinn’s results have an alternative explanation. A distinction is drawn between (...)
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  18. Christopher Gauker (1998). Are There Wordlike Concepts Too? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1):70-71.
    Millikan proposes that there are mapping functions through which spoken sentences represent reality. Such mappings seem to depend on thoughts that words express and on concepts as components of such thoughts, but such concepts would conflict with Millikan's other claims about concepts and language.
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  19. Christopher Gauker (1998). Building Block Dilemmas. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1):26-27.
    Feature-based theories of concept formation face two dilemmas. First, for many natural concepts, it is hard to see how the concepts of the features could be developmentally more basic. Second, concept formation must be guided by “abstraction heuristics,” but these can be neither universal principles of rational thought nor natural conventions.
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  20. Grant R. Gillett (1987). Concepts, Structures, and Meanings. Inquiry 30 (March):101-112.
    Concepts are basic elements of thought. Piaget has a conception of the nature of concepts as informational or computational operations performed in an inner milieu and enabling the child to understand the world in which it lives and acts. Concepts are, however, not merely logico?mathematical but are also conceptually linked to the mastery of language which itself involves the appropriate use of words in social and interpersonal settings. In the light of Vygotsky's work on the social and interactive nature of (...)
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  21. Michael Glanzberg (2011). Meaning, Concepts, and the Lexicon. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 11 (1):1-29.
    This paper explores how words relate to concepts. It argues that in many cases, words get their meanings in part by associating with concepts, but only in conjunction with substantial input from language. Language packages concepts in grammatically determined ways. This structures the meanings of words, and determines which sorts of concepts map to words. The results are linguistically modulated meanings, and the extralinguistic concepts associated with words are often not what intuitively would be expected. The paper concludes by discussing (...)
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  22. Hans-Johann Glock (2009). Concepts, Conceptual Schemes and Grammar. Philosophia 37 (4):653-668.
    This paper considers the connection between concepts, conceptual schemes and grammar in Wittgenstein’s last writings. It lists eight claims about concepts that one can garner from these writings. It then focuses on one of them, namely that there is an important difference between conceptual and factual problems and investigations. That claim draws in its wake other claims, all of them revolving around the idea of a conceptual scheme, what Wittgenstein calls a ‘grammar’. I explain why Wittgenstein’s account does not fall (...)
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  23. Mark Greenberg, Incomplete Understanding, Deference, and the Content of Thought.
    Tyler Burge’s influential arguments have convinced most philosophers that a thinker can have a thought involving a particular concept without fully grasping or having mastery of that concept. In Burge’s (1979) famous example, a thinker who lacks mastery of the concept of arthritis nonetheless has thoughts involving that concept. It is generally supposed, however, that this phenomenon – incomplete understanding, for short – does not require us to reconsider in a fundamental way what it is for a thought to involve (...)
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  24. Steven Gross (2001). Book Review. Concepts: Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong Jerry Fodor. [REVIEW] Mind 110 (438):469-475.
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  25. Steven Gross & Georges Rey (forthcoming). Innateness. In Eric Margolis, Richard Samuels & Stephen Stich (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Cognitive Science. Oxford University Press.
    A survey of innateness in cognitive science, focusing on (1) what innateness might be, and (2) whether concepts might be innate.
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  26. Ilhan Inan (2012). The Philosophy of Curiosity. Routledge.
    Meno's paradox and inostensible conceptualization -- Asking and answering -- Knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description -- Referential and attributive uses of definite descriptions -- De re/de dicto -- Rigidity and direct reference -- Reference to the object of curiosity -- Conditions for curiosity -- Conditions for the satisfaction of curiosity -- Relativity of curiosity and its satisfaction -- Presuppositions of curiosity -- Limits of curiosity and its satisfaction.
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  27. Pierre Jacob (forthcoming). Can Semantic Properties Be Non-Causal? Philosophical Issues.
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  28. Kent Johnson (2004). From Impossible Words to Conceptual Structure: The Role of Structure and Processes in the Lexicon. Mind and Language 19 (3):334-358.
    The structure of words is often thought to provide important evidence regarding the structure of concepts. At the same time, most contemporary linguists posit a great deal of structure in words. Such a trend makes some atomists about concepts uncomfortable. The details of linguistic methodology undermine several strategies for avoiding positing structure in words. I conclude by arguing that there is insufficient evidence to hold that word-structure bears any interesting relation to the structure of concepts.
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  29. Elisabetta Lalumera (2009). More Than Words. In Kissine De Brabanter (ed.), Utterance Interpretation and Cognitive Models. Emerald.
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  30. Elisabetta Lalumera (2005). A Simple Realist Account of the Normativity of Concepts. Disputatio 1 (19):1-17.
    I argue that a concept is applied correctly when it is applied to the kind
    of things it is the concept of. Correctness as successful kind-tracking is
    fulfilling an externally and naturalistically individuated standard. And the normative aspect of concept-application so characterized depends on the relational (non-individualistic) feature of conceptual content. I defend this view against two objections. The first is that norms should provide justifications for action, and the second involves a version of the thesis of indeterminacy of reference.
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  31. Krista Lawlor (2005). Confused Thought and Modes of Presentation. Philosophical Quarterly 55 (218):21-36.
    Ruth Millikan has long argued that the phenomenon of confused thought requires us to abandon certain traditional programmes for mental semantics. On the one hand she argues that confused thought involves confused concepts, and on the other that Fregean senses, or modes of presentation, cannot be useful in theorizing about minds capable of confused thinking. I argue that while we might accept that concepts can be confused, we have no reason to abandon modes of presentation. Making sense of confused thought (...)
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  32. Kenneth R. Livingston (1989). Concepts, Categories, and Epistemology. Philosophia 19 (2-3):265-300.
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  33. A. C. Lloyd (1958). How Concepts Contain Beliefs. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 58:289-304.
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  34. Philip R. Loockvane (ed.) (1999). The Nature of Concepts: Evolution, Structure, and Representation. Routledge.
    The Nature of Concepts examines a central issue for all the main disciplines in cognitive science: how the human mind creates and passes on to other human minds a concept. An excellent cross-disciplinary collection with contributors including Steven Pinker, Andy Clarke and Henry Plotkin.
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  35. Jack C. Lyons (2005). Representational Analyticity. Mind and Language 20 (4):392–422.
    The traditional understanding of analyticity in terms of concept containment is revisited, but with a concept explicitly understood as a certain kind of mental representation and containment being read correspondingly literally. The resulting conception of analyticity avoids much of the vagueness associated with attempts to explicate analyticity in terms of synonymy by moving the locus of discussion from the philosophy of language to the philosophy of mind. The account provided here illustrates some interesting features of representations and explains, at least (...)
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  36. Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence (2008). How to Learn the Natural Numbers: Inductive Inference and the Acquisition of Number Concepts. Cognition 106 (2):924-939.
    Theories of number concepts often suppose that the natural numbers are acquired as children learn to count and as they draw an induction based on their interpretation of the first few count words. In a bold critique of this general approach, Rips, Asmuth, Bloomfield [Rips, L., Asmuth, J. & Bloomfield, A. (2006). Giving the boot to the bootstrap: How not to learn the natural numbers. Cognition, 101, B51–B60.] argue that such an inductive inference is consistent with a representational system that (...)
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  37. Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence (eds.) (2007). Creations of the Mind: Theories of Artifacts and Their Representation. Oxford University Press.
    This volume will be a fascinating resource for philosophers, cognitive scientists, and psychologists, and the starting point for future research in the study of ...
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  38. Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence (2003). Concepts. In Stephen P. Stich & Ted A. Warfield (eds.), Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell.
    This entry provides an overview of theories of concepts that is organized around five philosophical issues: (1) the ontology of concepts, (2) the structure of concepts, (3) empiricism and nativism about concepts, (4) concepts and natural language, and (5) concepts and conceptual analysis.
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  39. Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence (eds.) (1999). Concepts: Core Readings. MIT Press.
    The first part of the book centers around the fall of the Classical Theory of Concepts in the face of attacks by W. V. O. Quine, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Eleanor ...
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  40. Joseph McCaffrey (2013). Concepts in the Brain: Neuroscience, Embodiment, and Categorization. Protosociology 30:167-190.
  41. René Meyer (1973). The Status of Concepts. University of the North.
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  42. Nikolay Milkov (2010). Mark Wilson, Wandering Significance: An Essay on Conceptual Behaviour. [REVIEW] Pragmatics and Cognition 18 (1):188-195.
  43. Ruth G. Millikan (2010). On Knowing the Meaning; With a Coda on Swampman. Mind 119 (473):43-81.
    I give an analysis of how empirical terms do their work in communication and the gathering of knowledge that is fully externalist and that covers the full range of empirical terms. It rests on claims about ontology. A result is that armchair analysis fails as a tool for examining meanings of ‘basic’ empirical terms because their meanings are not determined by common methods or criteria of application passed from old to new users, by conventionally determined ‘intensions’. Nor do methods of (...)
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  44. Ruth G. Millikan, How We Make Our Ideas Clear: Empiricist Epistemology for Empirical Concepts.
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  45. María G. Navarro (2009). 'Conceptos. Revista de Investigación Graciana'. [REVIEW] Devenires 20:181-185.
    Una empresa de inspiración graciana no puede por menos que hacer suya la consigna de que el mejor atajo para ser persona consiste en saberse ladear.
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  46. Norton Nelkin (1997). Consciousness and the Origins of Thought. Mind and Language 12 (2):178–180.
    This book offers a comprehensive and broadly rationalist theory of the mind which continually tests itself against experimental results and clinical data. Taking issue with Empiricists who believe that all knowledge arises from experience and that perception is a non-cognitive state, Norton Nelkin argues that perception is cognitive, constructive, and proposition-like. Further, as against Externalists who believe that our thoughts have meaning only insofar as they advert to the world outside our minds, he argues that meaning is determined 'in the (...)
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  47. Lennart Nørreklit (1973). Concepts. Odense,Odense Universitetsforlag.
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  48. Christopher Peacocke (1996). Can a Theory of Concepts Explain the A Priori: A Reply to Skorupski. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 4 (1):154-60.
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  49. David Pereplyotchik (2011). Why Believe in Demonstrative Concepts? Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2):636-638.
    I examine two arguments for the existence of demonstrative concepts—one due to Chuard (2006) and another due to Brewer (1999). I point out some important difficulties in each. I hope to show that much more work must be done to legitimize positing demonstrative concepts.
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  50. Gualtiero Piccinini (2011). Two Kinds of Concept: Implicit and Explicit. Dialogue 50 (1):179-193.
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