David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Mind and Language 8 (1):105-30 (1993)
The network theory of conceptual development is the theory that conceptual developmentmay be represented as a process of constructing a network of linked nodes. The nodes of such a network represent concepts and the links between nodes represent relations between concepts. The structure of such a network is not determined by experience alone but must evolve in accordance with abstraction heuristics, which constrain the varieties of network between which experience must decide. This paper criticizes the network theory on the grounds that current proposals regarding these abstraction heuristics all fail, and further, that, given certain plausible assumptions, no viable account of these abstraction heuristics will be possible. Abstraction heuristics cannot be universal principles of rational thought because virtually no concept is intrinsically unsuitable for use in a true and useful representation of reality. Nor can they be species-specific natural conventions because in that case, it is argued, we would not be able even in principle to learn to understand the language of creatures who used different ones.
|Keywords||Language Rationality Semantics Universal|
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References found in this work BETA
S. L. Armstrong, L. R. Gleitman & H. Gleitman (1983). What Some Concepts Might Not Be. Cognition 13 (1):263--308.
S. Carey (1988). Cognitive Development in Childhood. In Stephen Schiffer & Susan Steele (eds.), Cognition and Representation. Westview Press 131--160.
E. V. Clark (1973). What's in a Word? On the Child's Acquisition of Language in His First Language. In T. E. Moore (ed.), Cognitive Development and the Acquisition of Language. Academic 65--110.
Christopher Gauker (1991). If Children Thought Like Adults: A Critical Review of Markman'sCategorization and Naming in Childrenand Keil'sConcepts, Kinds and Cognitive Development. Philosophical Psychology 4 (1):139-146.
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