Putting thoughts to work: Concepts, stimulus-independence and the generality constraint

Abstract
A venerable philosophical tradition claims that only language users possess concepts. But this makes conceptual thought out to be an implausibly rarified achievement. A more recent tradition, based in cognitive science, maintains that any creature who can systematically recombine its representational capacities thereby deploys concepts. But this makes conceptual thought implausibly widespread. I argue for a middle ground: it is sufficient for conceptual thought that one be able to entertain many of the thoughts produced by recombining one’s representational capacities, so long as one can do this apart from a direct confrontation with the represented states of affairs.
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