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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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  1. R. A. A. (1962). The Concept of Law. [REVIEW] Review of Metaphysics 15 (3):525-525.
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  2. D. Andriopoulos (2006). Basic Concepts in Greek Sceptic Theories of Cognitions. Skepsis 17 (1-2).
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  3. C. L. B. (1967). Concepts of Criticism. Review of Metaphysics 21 (2):382-382.
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  4. K. Bach (2000). Concepts: Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong. Philosophical Review 109 (4):627-632.
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  5. Kent Bach (2000). Concepts. Philosophical Review 109 (4):627-632.
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  6. Jules A. Baisnée (1933). The Concept of Value. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 9:117-133.
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  7. 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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  8. Tamar Barkay (1993). Old Concepts, New Approaches. BioScience 43 (5):342-343.
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  9. 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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  10. David Basinger (1984). The Concept of God. International Philosophical Quarterly 24 (2):203-205.
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  11. 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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  12. David Bell (1996). The Formation of Concepts and the Structure of Thoughts. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 56 (3):583-596.
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  13. Gustav Bergmann & Herbert Hochberg (1957). Concepts. Philosophical Studies 8 (1-2):19 - 27.
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  14. Thomas Berry (1963). The Concept of Man. International Philosophical Quarterly 3 (1):150-153.
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  15. Thomas Berry (1963). The Concept of Man. International Philosophical Quarterly 3 (1):150-153.
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  16. Corinne L. Bloch (2011). Edouard Machery, Doing Without Concepts. Pragmatics and Cognition 19 (1):133-140.
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  17. 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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  18. P. W. Bridgman (1951). The Nature of Some of Our Physical Concepts. I. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 1 (4):257-272.
  19. P. W. Bridgman (1951). The Nature of Some of Our Physical Concepts--II. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 2 (5):25-44.
  20. P. W. Bridgman (1951). The Nature of Some of Our Physical Concepts. III. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 2 (6):142-160.
  21. 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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  22. Karl Britton (1972). Concepts of Action and Concepts of Approval. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 73:105 - 117.
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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. R. J. C. Burgener (1957). Price's Theory of the Concept. Review of Metaphysics 11 (1):143 - 159.
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  26. 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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  27. Georges Canguilhem (1966). Le Concept Et la Vie. Revue Philosophique De Louvain 64 (82):193-223.
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  28. Quassim Cassam (2003). A Priori Concepts. In Hans-Johann Glock (ed.), Strawson and Kant. Clarendon Press.
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  29. 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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  30. 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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  31. 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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  32. 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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  33. 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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  34. David E. Cooper (1973). Grammar and the Possession of Concepts. Journal of Philosophy of Education 7 (2):204–222.
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  35. H. A. D. (1972). Basic Philosophical Analysis. Review of Metaphysics 25 (3):567-567.
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  36. R. D. (1968). The Concept of Willing. Review of Metaphysics 22 (1):159-160.
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  37. R. D. (1968). The Concept of Willing. Review of Metaphysics 22 (1):159-160.
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  38. S. C. Dash (1997). Prabhacandra's Concept of Smrti. In V. N. Jha (ed.), Jaina Logic and Epistemology. Sri Sadguru Publications. 209--164.
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  39. Srilekha Datta (2006). The Concept of Abhava. In Pranab Kumar Sen & Prabal Kumar Sen (eds.), Philosophical Concepts Relevant to Sciences in Indian Tradition. Distributed by Motilal Banarsidass. 1--85.
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  40. Monique David-ménard (2004). Créer des concepts dessiner l'impensé. Rue Descartes 3 (3):75-87.
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  41. Arthur Ernest Davies (1900). The Concept of Change. Philosophical Review 9 (5):502-517.
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  42. Guido Dierickx (2013). Secularisatie: Van sociaal probleem tot sociologisch concept. Bijdragen 32 (3):282-302.
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  43. Richard Dietz (2013). Comparative Concepts. Synthese 190 (1):139-170.
    Comparative concepts such as greener than or higher than are ways of ordering objects. They are fundamental to our grasp of gradable concepts, that is, the type of meanings expressed by gradable general terms, such as "is green" or "is high", which are embeddable in comparative constructions in natural language. Some comparative concepts seem natural, whereas others seem gerrymandered. The aim of this paper is to outline a theoretical approach to comparative concepts that bears both on the account of naturalness (...)
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  44. Homa Donald, Cross Joseph, Cornell Don, Goldman David & Shwartz Steven (1973). Prototype Abstraction and Classification of New Instances as a Function of Number of Instances Defining the Prototype. Journal of Experimental Psychology 101 (1):116.
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  45. Bernardo Aguilera Dreyse (2011). Do Honeybees Have Concepts? Disputatio 4 (30):1 - 19.
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  46. David Duff (2000). Key Concepts. In , Modern Genre Theory. Longman Publishing Group.
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  47. John Dupre (2011). What Darwin Got Wrong by Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini (UK: Profile; US: Farrar, Straus and Giroux)£ 20/$26 (Hb). [REVIEW] The Philosophers' Magazine 50:118-120.
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  48. Dennis Earl, Concepts. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  49. Machery Edouard (forthcoming). Concepts Are Not a Natural Kind. Philosophy of Science.
    In cognitive psychology, concepts are those data structures that are stored in long-term memory and are used by default in human beings' higher cognitive processes (categorization, inductive and deductive reasoning...). Most psychologists of concepts assume that these mental representations share many scientifically important properties, and the psychology of concepts is expected to describe those properties. Psychologists assume thereby that concepts constitute a natural kind. I call this assumption the Natural Kind Assumption. This article challenges the Natural Kind Assumption. It is (...)
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  50. Brian Ellis (2011). Doing Without Concepts. Review of Metaphysics 64 (3):644-645.
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