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Profile: Daniel Weiskopf (Georgia State University)
  1. Daniel A. Weiskopf, Embodied Cognition and Linguistic Understanding.
    Traditionally, the language faculty was supposed to be a device that maps linguistic inputs to semantic or conceptual representations. These representations themselves were supposed to be distinct from the representations manipulated by the hearer.s perceptual and motor systems. Recently this view of language has been challenged by advocates of embodied cognition. Drawing on empirical studies of linguistic comprehension, they have proposed that the language faculty reuses the very representations and processes deployed in perceiving and acting. I review some of the (...)
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  2. Daniel A. Weiskopf (2013). Concepts. In Byron Kaldis (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Social Sciences, Vol. 1. Sage Publications. 138-144.
  3. Daniel A. Weiskopf (2011). Concepts, Theory-Theory Of. In James Fieser & Bradley Dowden (eds.), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  4. Daniel A. Weiskopf (2011). Language and Mechanisms of Concept Learning. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (3):150-151.
    Carey focuses her attention on a mechanism of concept learning called I argue that this form of bootstrapping is not dependent upon language or other public representations, and outline a place for language in concept learning generally. Language, perception, and causal reasoning are all sources of evidence that can guide learners toward discovering new and potentially useful categories.
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  5. Daniel A. Weiskopf (2011). Models and Mechanisms in Psychological Explanation. Synthese 183 (3):313-338.
    Mechanistic explanation has an impressive track record of advancing our understanding of complex, hierarchically organized physical systems, particularly biological and neural systems. But not every complex system can be understood mechanistically. Psychological capacities are often understood by providing cognitive models of the systems that underlie them. I argue that these models, while superficially similar to mechanistic models, in fact have a substantially more complex relation to the real underlying system. They are typically constructed using a range of techniques for abstracting (...)
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  6. Daniel A. Weiskopf (2011). The Functional Unity of Special Science Kinds. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (2):233 - 258.
    The view that special science properties are multiply realizable has been attacked in recent years by Shapiro, Bechtel and Mundale, Polger, and others. Focusing on psychological and neuroscientific properties, I argue that these attacks are unsuccessful. By drawing on interspecies physiological comparisons I show that diverse physical mechanisms can converge on common functional properties at multiple levels. This is illustrated with examples from the psychophysics and neuroscience of early vision. This convergence is compatible with the existence of general constraints on (...)
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  7. Daniel A. Weiskopf (2010). Concepts and the Modularity of Thought. Dialectica 64 (1):107-130.
    Having concepts is a distinctive sort of cognitive capacity. One thing that conceptual thought requires is obeying the Generality Constraint: concepts ought to be freely recombinable with other concepts to form novel thoughts, independent of what they are concepts of. Having concepts, then, constrains cognitive architecture in interesting ways. In recent years, spurred on by the rise of evolutionary psychology, massively modular models of the mind have gained prominence. I argue that these architectures are incapable of satisfying the Generality Constraint, (...)
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  8. Daniel A. Weiskopf (2010). Embodied Cognition and Linguistic Comprehension. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (3):294-304.
    Traditionally, the language faculty was supposed to be a device that maps linguistic inputs to semantic or conceptual representations. These representations themselves were supposed to be distinct from the representations manipulated by the hearer’s perceptual and motor systems. Recently this view of language has been challenged by advocates of embodied cognition. Drawing on empirical studies of linguistic comprehension, they have proposed that the language faculty reuses the very representations and processes deployed in perceiving and acting. I review some of the (...)
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  9. Daniel A. Weiskopf (2010). The Theoretical Indispensability of Concepts. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):228 - 229.
    Machery denies the traditional view that concepts are constituents of thoughts, and he more provocatively argues that concepts should be eliminated from our best psychological taxonomy. I argue that the constituency view has much to recommend it (and is presupposed by much of his own theory), and that the evidence gives us grounds for pluralism, rather than eliminativism, about concepts.
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  10. Daniel A. Weiskopf (2010). Understanding is Not Simulating: A Reply to Gibbs and Perlman. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (3):309-312.
  11. Daniel A. Weiskopf (2009). Atomism, Pluralism, and Conceptual Content. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (1):131-163.
    Conceptual atomists argue that most of our concepts are primitive. I take up three arguments that have been thought to support atomism and show that they are inconclusive. The evidence that allegedly backs atomism is equally compatible with a localist position on which concepls are structured representations with complex semantic content. I lay out such a localist position and argue that the appropriate position for a non-atomist to adopt is a pluralist view of conceptual structure. I show several ways in (...)
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  12. Daniel A. Weiskopf (2009). The Plurality of Concepts. Synthese 169 (1):145 - 173.
    Traditionally, theories of concepts in psychology assume that concepts are a single, uniform kind of mental representation. But no single kind of representation can explain all of the empirical data for which concepts are responsible. I argue that the assumption that concepts are uniformly the same kind of mental structure is responsible for these theories’ shortcomings, and outline a pluralist theory of concepts that rejects this assumption. On pluralism, concepts should be thought of as being constituted by multiple representational kinds, (...)
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  13. Daniel A. Weiskopf (2008). First Thoughts. Philosophical Psychology 21 (2):251 – 268.
    Jean Mandler proposes an original and richly detailed theory of how concepts relate to sensory and motor capacities. I focus on her claims about conceptual representations and the processes that produce them. On her view, concepts are declarative representations of object kind information. First, I argue that since sensorimotor representations may be declarative, there is no bar to percepts being constituents of concepts. Second, I suggest that concepts track kinds and other categories not by representing kind information per se, but (...)
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  14. Daniel A. Weiskopf (2008). Patrolling the Mind's Boundaries. Erkenntnis 68 (2):265 - 276.
    Defenders of the extended mind thesis say that it is possible that some of our mental states may be constituted, in part, by states of the extra-bodily environment. Often they also add that such extended mentation is a commonplace phenomenon. I argue that extended mentation, while not impossible, is either nonexistent or far from widespread. Genuine beliefs as they occur in normal biologically embodied systems are informationally integrated with each other, and sensitive to changes in the person.
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  15. Daniel A. Weiskopf (2008). Simulating Minds: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Mindreading - by Alvin I. Goldman. Philosophical Books 49 (2):168-170.
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  16. Daniel A. Weiskopf (2008). The Origins of Concepts. Philosophical Studies 140 (3):359 - 384.
    Certain of our concepts are innate, but many others are learned. Despite the plausibility of this claim, some have argued that the very idea of concept learning is incoherent. I present a conception of learning that sidesteps the arguments against the possibility of concept learning, and sketch several mechanisms that result in the generation of new primitive concepts. Given the rational considerations that motivate their deployment, I argue that these deserve to be called learning mechanisms. I conclude by replying to (...)
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  17. Daniel A. Weiskopf (2007). Atomism, Pluralism, and Conceptual Content. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (1):131-163.
    Conceptual atomists argue that most of our concepts are primitive. I take up three arguments that have been thought to support atomism and show that they are inconclusive. The evidence that allegedly backs atomism is equally compatible with a localist position on which concepts are structured representations with complex semantic content. I lay out such a localist position and argue that the appropriate position for a non-atomist to adopt is a pluralist view of conceptual structure. I show several ways in (...)
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  18. Daniel A. Weiskopf (2007). Concept Empiricism and the Vehicles of Thought. Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (s 9-10):156-183.
    Concept empiricists are committed to the claim that the vehicles of thought are re-activated perceptual representations. Evidence for empiricism comes from a range of neuroscientific studies showing that perceptual regions of the brain are employed during cognitive tasks such as categorization and inference. I examine the extant neuroscientific evidence and argue that it falls short of establishing this core empiricist claim. During conceptual tasks, the causal structure of the brain produces widespread activity in both perceptual and non-perceptual systems. I lay (...)
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  19. Daniel A. Weiskopf (2007). Compound Nominals, Context, and Compositionality. Synthese 156 (1):161 - 204.
    There are good reasons to think natural languages are compositional. But compound nominals (CNs) are largely productive constructions that have proven highly recalcitrant to compositional semantic analysis. I evaluate existing proposals to treat CNs compositionally and argue that they are unsuccessful. I then articulate an alternative proposal according to which CNs contain covert indexicals. Features of the context allow a variety of relations to be expressed using CNs, but this variety is not expressed in the lexicon or the semantic rules (...)
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  20. Daniel A. Weiskopf (2005). Mental Mirroring as the Origin of Attributions. Mind and Language 20 (5):495-520.
    A ‘Radical Simulationist’ account of how folk psychology functions has been developed by Robert Gordon. I argue that Radical Simulationism is false. In its simplest form it is not sufficient to explain our attribution of mental states to subjects whose desires and preferences differ from our own. Modifying the theory to capture these attributions invariably generates innumerable other false attributions. Further, the theory predicts that deficits in mentalizing ought to co-occur with certain deficits in imagining perceptually-based scenarios. I present evidence (...)
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  21. Daniel A. Weiskopf (2004). The Place of Time in Cognition. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (1):87-105.
    models of cognition are essentially incomplete because they fail to capture the temporal properties of mental processing. I present two possible interpretations of the dynamicists' argument from time and show that neither one is successful. The disagreement between dynamicists and symbolic theorists rests not on temporal considerations per se, but on differences over the multiple realizability of cognitive states and the proper explanatory goals of psychology. The negative arguments of dynamicists against symbolic models fail, and it is doubtful whether pursuing (...)
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  22. Daniel A. Weiskopf & William P. Bechtel (2004). Remarks on Fodor on Having Concepts. Mind and Language 19 (1):48-56.
    Fodor offers a novel argument against Bare-bones Concept Pragmatism (BCP). He alleges that there are two circularities in BCP’s account of concept possession: a circularity in explaining concept possession in terms of the capacity to sort; and a circularity in explaining concept possession in terms of the capacity to draw inferences. We argue that neither of these circles is real.
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  23. Daniel A. Weiskopf (2002). On Fodor's The Mind Doesn't Work That Way. Philosophical Psychology 15 (4):551-562.
    The "New Synthesis" in cognitive science is committed to the computational theory of mind (CTM), massive modularity, nativism, and adaptationism. In The mind doesn't work that way , Jerry Fodor argues that CTM has problems explaining abductive or global inference, but that the New Synthesis offers no solution, since massive modularity is in fact incompatible with global cognitive processes. I argue that it is not clear how global human mentation is, so whether CTM is imperiled is an open question. Massive (...)
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