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Summary Debates on the ontology of concepts focus on what sorts of things they are. There are roughly three major positions on concept ontology. The first is that concepts are abstrata: non-psychological entities such as properties or Fregean senses. The second is that concepts are mental representations or some other type of psychological entities. The third is that concepts are abilities of some kind, such as the ability to recognize their instances.
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  1. Asuncion Alvarez (2006). On Peacocke's Theory of Concepts. In E. Di Nucci & C McHugh (eds.), Content, Consciousness, and Perception: Essays in Contemporary Philosophy of Mind. Cambridge Scholars Press.
    How are we to understand the notion of concept, the very concept of concept itself? One natural way, it seems to me, is to take Fregean sense as a model, and imposing similar constraints on a theory of concepts. This approach has the advantage, among others, of allowing for a distinction to be made between publicly shared, objective concepts, on the one hand, and private, subjective mental representations on the other - a distinction which, I believe, is desirable for various (...)
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  2. Nicholas M. Asher (1988). Semantic Competence, Linguistic Understanding, and a Theory of Concepts. Philosophical Studies 53 (January):1-36.
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  3. Alex Barber (1998). The Pleonasticity of Talk About Concepts. Philosophical Studies 89 (1):53-86.
    The paper aims to disarm arguments, prevalent in diverse philosophical contexts, that deny the legitimacy of attributions of propositional attitudes on the grounds that the putative subject lacks one or more of the requite concepts. Its strategy is to offer and defend an extremely minimal account on concept possession. The agenda of the paper broadens into a defence of the thesis that concepts are a linguistic epiphenomenon: talk about them emerges as the result of certain contingently available and pleonastic ways (...)
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  4. Jacob Beck (forthcoming). Sense, Mentalese, and Ontology. Protosociology, 30 (Special Issue: Concepts.
    Modes of presentation are often posited to accommodate Frege’s puzzle. Philosophers differ, however, in whether they follow Frege in identifying modes of presentation with Fregean senses, or instead take them to be formally individuated symbols of “Mentalese”. Building on Fodor, Margolis and Laurence defend the latter view by arguing that the mind-independence of Fregean senses renders them ontologically suspect in a way that Mentalese symbols are not. This paper shows how Fregeans can withstand this objection. Along the way, a clearer (...)
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  5. Robert Briscoe (2014). Review of Christopher Gauker, Words and Images: An Essay on the Origin of Ideas, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. [REVIEW] Mind 123 (491):902-096.
  6. Dennis Earl (2006). Concepts and Properties. Metaphysica 7 (1):67-85.
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  7. Elisabetta Lalumera (2010). Concepts Are a Functional Kind. Comment on Machery's Doing Without Concepts. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):217-18.
    This commentary focuses on Machery's eliminativist claim, that ought to be eliminated from the theoretical vocabulary of psychology because it fails to denote a natural kind. I argue for the more traditional view that concepts are a functional kind, which provides the simplest account of the empirical evidence discussed by Machery.
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  8. Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence, Concepts. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    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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  9. Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence (2007). The Ontology of Concepts: Abstract Objects or Mental Representations? Noûs 41 (4):561-593.
    What is a concept? Philosophers have given many different answers to this question, reflecting a wide variety of approaches to the study of mind and language. Nonetheless, at the most general level, there are two dominant frameworks in contemporary philosophy. One proposes that concepts are mental representations, while the other proposes that they are abstract objects. This paper looks at the differences between these two approaches, the prospects for combining them, and the issues that are involved in the dispute. We (...)
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  10. María G. Navarro (1999). Review of 'Historia y Hermenéutica' by José Luis Villacañas and Faustino Oncina. [REVIEW] Anales Del Seminario de Metafísica:249-251.
    La publicación de Historia y hermenéutica representa, temática y estructuralmente, una nueva invitación al diálogo. Con ocasión del octogésimo cumpleaños de Hans-George Gadamer, el metodólogo de la historia Reinhart Koselleck ofreció la conferencia 'Histórica y hermenéutica' el horizonte de la pregunta que encierra la conferencia fue abierto por Gadamer con su tentativa de respuesta 'Histórica y lenguaje'. Con todo, la descripción de un libro que invita a una lectura estructuralmente dialogal es incompleta si no se muestra, al menos sintetizadamente, el (...)
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  11. Christopher Peacocke (1991). The Metaphysics of Concepts. Mind 100 (399):525-46.
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  12. 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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  13. Pierre Poirier & Guillaume Beaulac (2011). Le véritable retour des définitions. Dialogue 50 (1):153-164.
    In our critical review of Doing without Concepts, we argue that although the heterogeneity hypothesis (according to which exemplars, prototypes and theories are natural kinds that should replace ‘concept’) may end fruitless debates in the psychology of concepts, Edouard Machery did not anticipate one consequence of his suggestion: Definitions now acquire a new status as another one of the bodies of information replacing ‘concept’. In order to support our hypothesis, we invoke dual-process models to suggest that prototypes, exemplars and theories (...)
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  14. Edward E. Smith (1989). Three Distinctions About Concepts and Categorization. Mind and Language 4 (1-2):57-61.
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  15. Edward E. Smith & L. Douglas (1981). Categories and Concepts. Harvard University Press.
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  16. Robert Sokolowski (1987). Exorcising Concepts. Review of Metaphysics 40 (March):451-463.
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  17. Ernest Sosa (1993). Abilities, Concepts, and Externalism. In John Heil & Alfred R. Mele (eds.), Mental Causation. Oxford University Press.
  18. John Sutton (2004). Are Concepts Mental Representations or Abstracta? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (1):89-108.
    I argue that thoughts and concepts are mental representations rather than abstracta. I propose that the most important difference between the two views is that the mentalist believes that there are concept and thought tokens as well as types; this reveals that the dispute is not terminological but ontological. I proceed to offer an argument for mentalism. The key step is to establish that concepts and thoughts have lexical as well as semantic properties. I then show that this entails that (...)
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  19. Mark Wilson (2006). Wandering Significance: An Essay on Conceptual Behavior. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
    Mark Wilson presents a highly original and broad-ranging investigation of the way we get to grips with the world conceptually, and the way that philosophical problems commonly arise from this. He combines traditional philosophical concerns about human conceptual thinking with illuminating data derived from a large variety of fields including physics and applied mathematics, cognitive psychology, and linguistics. Wandering Significance offers abundant new insights and perspectives for philosophers of language, mind, and science, and will also reward the interest of psychologists, (...)
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  20. Edward N. Zalta (2001). Fregean Senses, Modes of Presentation, and Concepts. Philosophical Perspectives 15 (s15):335-359.
    of my axiomatic theory of abstract objects.<sup>1</sup> The theory asserts the ex- istence not only of ordinary properties, relations, and propositions, but also of abstract individuals and abstract properties and relations. The.
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  21. Edward N. Zalta (2000). A (Leibnizian) Theory of Concepts. Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy 3:137-183.
    In this paper, the author develops a theory of concepts and shows that it captures many of the ideas about concepts that Leibniz expressed in his work. Concepts are first analyzed in terms of a precise background theory of abstract objects, and once concept summation and concept containment are defined, the axioms and theorems of Leibniz's calculus of concepts (in his logical papers) are derived. This analysis of concepts is then seamlessly connected with Leibniz's modal metaphysics of complete individual concepts. (...)
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