A more plausible kind of "recognitional concept"

Philosophical Issues 9:35-41 (1998)
It's a sort of moebus strip argument. Rather than circularly assuming what it should prove, it assumes one of the things Fodor says he has disproved. It assumes that the extensions of those concepts thought by some to be recognitional are in fact controlled by stereotypes. Why do I say that? Because Fodor assumes that what makes an instance of a concept a "good instance" is that it is an average instance, that it sports the properties statistically most commonly found among instances of that concept. But that the "good instances" are always the common instances is remotely plausible only if we take concepts to be organized by stereotypes. True, a goldfish is not an average or stereotypical fish (SSis that true?) and the nursing profession is not average for a male and maleness is not average for a nurse. But there is surely is nothing borderline about the fishiness of a goldfish nor, typically, about the maleness of a male nurse or the petness of a pet fish. Notice also that good examples of some kinds of things are very hard to find, for example, good examples of the fallacy of accent, and good examples of wild children, and (nowadays) good examples of scurvy are hard to find. If good instances had to be instances that were average, including in respects having nothing to do with the point of the category being defined, and if recognitional concepts had to recognize by attending to average properties, then I suppose the recognitional ability defining the concept "sphere" would have to include the ability to tell whether a thing bounces!
Keywords Composition  Concept  Recognition  Fodor, J
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DOI 10.2307/1522958
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