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Summary Many theories in developmental psychology and anthropology assume that it makes sense to talk about a concept's changing over time. Similar appeals are often made in the history of science. For example, we may speak of changes in a child's concept of living things, a culture's concept of the afterlife, or the concept of energy in physics. Theories of conceptual change aim to explain what it means to speak of changes in a concept, to specify the sorts of processes by which concepts change, and to elucidate the ways in which the same concept can persist through change.
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  1. New Boundary Lines.Alejandro Pérez Carballo - manuscript
    Intellectual progress involves forming a more accurate picture of the world. But it also figuring out which concepts to use for theorizing about the world. Bayesian epistemology has had much to say about the former aspect of our cognitive lives, but little if at all about the latter. I outline a framework for formulating questions about conceptual change in a broadly Bayesian framework. By enriching the resources of Epistemic Utility Theory with a more expansive conception of epistemic value, I offer (...)
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  2. How (Not) to Give a Theory of Concepts.Steven Horst - unknown
    This paper presents the lineaments of a new account of concepts. The foundations of the account are four ideas taken from recent cognitive science, though most of them have important philosophical precursors. The first is the idea that human conceptuality shares important continuities with psychological faculties of other animals, and indeed that there is a well-distinguished hierarchy of such faculties that extend up and down the phylogenetic scale. While it would very likely be a mistake to look at some conglomeration (...)
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  3. Avner Baz on Aspects and Concepts: A Critique.Reshef Agam-Segal - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-33.
    ABSTRACTI defend the view that aspect-perception – seeing as a duck, or a face as courageous – typically involves concept-application. Seemingly obvious, this is contested by Avner Baz: ‘aspects ma...
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  4. Left Wittgensteinianism.Matthieu Queloz & Damian Cueni - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.
    Social and political concepts are indispensable yet historically and culturally variable in a way that poses a challenge: how can we reconcile confident commitment to them with awareness of their contingency? In this article, we argue that available responses to this problem—Foundationalism, Ironism, and Right Wittgensteinianism—are unsatisfactory. Instead, we draw on the work of Bernard Williams to tease out and develop a Left Wittgensteinian response. In present-day pluralistic and historically self-conscious societies, mere confidence in our concepts is not enough. For (...)
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  5. Meanings as Species. [REVIEW]Indrek Reiland - 2021 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2.
  6. Strategic Conceptual Engineering for Epistemic and Social Aims.Ingo Brigandt & Esther Rosario - 2020 - In Alexis Burgess, Herman Cappelen & David Plunkett (eds.), Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 100-124.
    Examining previous discussions on how to construe the concepts of gender and race, we advocate what we call strategic conceptual engineering. This is the employment of a (possibly novel) concept for specific epistemic or social aims, concomitant with the openness to use a different concept (e.g., of race) for other purposes. We illustrate this approach by sketching three distinct concepts of gender and arguing that all of them are needed, as they answer to different social aims. The first concept serves (...)
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  7. Why Literalism is Still the Best Game in Town: Replies to Drayson, Machery, and Schwitzgebel.Carrie Figdor - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (5):687-693.
    In Pieces of Mind: The Proper Domain of Psychological Predicates (Oxford UP, 2018), I argue that psychological predicates used to ascribe cognitive capacities to many nonhuman biological species should be interpreted literally with the same reference for humans and nonhumans alike. In this Mind & Language book symposium, I respond to comments and criticisms by Zoe Drayson, Edouard Machery, and Eric Schwitzgebel, and conclude that the Literalist position is still the best interpretation of these uses.
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  8. Shifting Concepts: The Philosophy and Psychology of Conceptual Variability.Teresa Marques & Asa Maria Wikforss (eds.) - 2020 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Concepts stand at the centre of human cognition. We use concepts in categorizing objects and events in the world, in reasoning and action, and in social interaction. It is therefore not surprising that the study of concepts constitutes a central area of research in philosophy and psychology, yet only recently have the two disciplines developed greater interaction. Recent experiments in psychology that test the role of concepts in categorizing and reasoning have found a great deal of variation, across individuals and (...)
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  9. History of ‘Temperature’: Maturation of a Measurement Concept.John P. McCaskey - 2020 - Annals of Science 77 (4):399-444.
    Accounts of how the concept of temperature has evolved typically cast the story as ancillary to the history of the thermometer or the history of the concept of heat. But then, because the history of temperature is not treated as a subject in its own right, modern associations inadvertently get read back into the historical record. This essay attempts to lay down an authoritative record not of what people in the past thought about what we call ‘temperature’ but of what (...)
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  10. Sellars, Truth Pluralism, and Truth Relativism.Lionel Shapiro - 2020 - In Stefan Brandt & Anke Breunig (eds.), Wilfrid Sellars and Twentieth-Century Philosophy. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 174–206.
    Two currently much discussed views about truth, truth pluralism and truth relativism, are found in Sellars’s writings. I show that his motivations for adoping these views are interestingly different from those shared by most of their recent advocates. First, I explain how Sellars comes to embrace a version of truth pluralism. I argue that his version overcomes a difficulty confronting pluralists, albeit at a serious cost. Then I argue that Sellars’s truth pluralism isn’t motivated by his interest in domains of (...)
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  11. The Points of Concepts: Their Types, Tensions, and Connections.Matthieu Queloz - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (8):1122-1145.
    In the literature seeking to explain concepts in terms of their point, talk of ‘the point’ of concepts remains under-theorised. I propose a typology of points which distinguishes practical, evaluative, animating, and inferential points. This allows us to resolve tensions such as that between the ambition of explanations in terms of the points of concepts to be informative and the claim that mastering concepts requires grasping their point; and it allows us to exploit connections between types of points to understand (...)
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  12. Bayesian Cognitive Science, Predictive Brains, and the Nativism Debate.Matteo Colombo - 2018 - Synthese 195 (11):4817-4838.
    The rise of Bayesianism in cognitive science promises to shape the debate between nativists and empiricists into more productive forms—or so have claimed several philosophers and cognitive scientists. The present paper explicates this claim, distinguishing different ways of understanding it. After clarifying what is at stake in the controversy between nativists and empiricists, and what is involved in current Bayesian cognitive science, the paper argues that Bayesianism offers not a vindication of either nativism or empiricism, but one way to talk (...)
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  13. The Revisionist’s Rubric: Conceptual Engineering and the Discontinuity Objection.Michael Prinzing - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (8):854-880.
    ABSTRACTThis paper is about conceptual engineering. Specifically, it discusses a common objection to CE, which I call the Discontinuity Objection. According to the Discontinuity Objection, CE leads to problematic discontinuities in subject and/or inquiry – making it philosophically uninteresting or irrelevant. I argue that a conceptual engineer can dismiss the Discontinuity Objection by showing that the pre-engineering concept persists through the proposed changes. In other words, the Discontinuity Objection does not apply if the proposal involves identity-preserving changes. Two existing views (...)
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  14. Can Bootstrapping Explain Concept Learning?Jacob Beck - 2017 - Cognition 158:110–121.
    Susan Carey's account of Quinean bootstrapping has been heavily criticized. While it purports to explain how important new concepts are learned, many commentators complain that it is unclear just what bootstrapping is supposed to be or how it is supposed to work. Others allege that bootstrapping falls prey to the circularity challenge: it cannot explain how new concepts are learned without presupposing that learners already have those very concepts. Drawing on discussions of concept learning from the philosophical literature, this article (...)
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  15. Language's Dreamwork Reconsidered.Andreas Heise - 2017 - Argumenta 5:109-125.
    This paper offers both exegetical and systematic reconsiderations of Donald Davidson’s view on metaphor. In his essay What Metaphors Mean, Davidson argued against the idea that metaphors have any kind of propositional content beyond the literal meaning of the relevant sentence. Apart from this negative claim, Davidson also made a constructive proposal by suggesting that metaphor’s distinctive effect is to prompt a mental state of seeing-as. These two points seem connected insofar as Davidson makes the following assumptions. First, metaphors cause (...)
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  16. Cognition in Practice: Conceptual Development and Disagreement in Cognitive Science.Mikio Akagi - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
    Cognitive science has been beset for thirty years by foundational disputes about the nature and extension of cognition—e.g. whether cognition is necessarily representational, whether cognitive processes extend outside the brain or body, and whether plants or microbes have them. Whereas previous philosophical work aimed to settle these disputes, I aim to understand what conception of cognition scientists could share given that they disagree so fundamentally. To this end, I develop a number of variations on traditional conceptual explication, and defend a (...)
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  17. Gustav Teichmüller and the Systematic Significance of Studying the History of Concepts.Gottfried Gabriel - 2015 - Studia Philosophica Estonica 8 (2):1-12.
    The history of concepts is relevant in philosophy because conceptual distinctions fundamentally shape cognition. Because these conceptual distinctions are deeply entrenched in our way of thinking, we are not usually aware of this influence. How we view the world depends crucially on the concepts we have. These concepts, however, are the products of their history. Following Herbart, Gustav Teichmüller viewed philosophy as the systematic analysis and refinement of concepts. Refining concepts in such a way allows us to make new distinctions, (...)
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  18. Hypothesis Formation and Testing in the Acquisition of Representationally Simple Concepts.[author unknown] - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (1):227-247.
    Observations from philosophy and psychology heavily favor the Empiricist tenet that many lexical concepts are learned. However, many observations also heavily favor the Nativist tenet that such concepts are representationally atomic. Fodor Representations: Philosophical essays on the foundations of cognitive science, 1981, LOT2: The language of thought revisited, 2008) has famously argued that representationally atomic concepts cannot be learned, at least not learned by hypothesis formation and testing. Concept theorists who want to preserve observations about concept learning have developed acquisition (...)
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  19. On Learning New Primitives in the Language of Thought: Reply to Rey.Susan Carey - 2014 - Mind and Language 29 (2):133-166.
    A theory of conceptual development must provide an account of the innate representational repertoire, must characterize how these initial representations differ from the adult state, and must provide an account of the processes that transform the initial into mature representations. In Carey, 2009 (The Origin of Concepts), I defend three theses: 1) the initial state includes rich conceptual representations, 2) nonetheless, there are radical discontinuities between early and later developing conceptual systems, 3) Quinean bootstrapping is one learning mechanism that underlies (...)
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  20. Innate a Nd Learned: Carey, Mad Dog Nativism, and the Poverty of Stimuli and Analogies.Georges Rey - 2014 - Mind and Language 29 (2):109-132.
    In her recent (2009) book, The Origins of Concepts, Susan Carey argues that what she calls ‘Quinean Bootstrapping’ and processes of analogy in children show that the expressive power of a mind can be increased in ways that refute Jerry Fodor's (1975, 2008) ‘Mad Dog’ view that all concepts are innate. I argue that it is doubtful any evidence about the manifestation of concepts in children will bear upon the logico-semantic issues of expressive power. Analogy and bootstrapping may be ways (...)
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  21. Concept Acquisition and Experiential Change.William S. Robinson - 2014 - The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 9.
    Many have held the Acquisition of Concepts Thesis that concept acquisition can change perceptual experience. This paper explains the close relation of ACT to ADT, the thesis that acquisition of dispositions to quickly and reliably recognize a kind of thing can change perceptual experience. It then states a highly developed argument given by Siegel which, if successful, would offer strong support for ADT and indirect support for ACT. Examination of this argument, however, reveals difficulties that undermine its promise. Distinctions made (...)
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  22. Where Concepts Come From: Learning Concepts by Description and by Demonstration.Dylan Sabo - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (3):531-549.
    Jerry Fodor’s arguments against the possibility of concept learning, and the responses that have been offered in defense of the coherence of concept learning, have both by and large assumed that concept learning is a descriptive process. I offer an alternative, ostensive approach to concept learning and explain how descriptive concept learning can be explained as a version of ostensive concept learning. I argue that an ostensive view of concept learning offers an empirically plausible and philosophically adequate account of concept (...)
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  23. A Critique of David Chalmers’ and Frank Jackson’s Account of Concepts.Ingo Brigandt - 2013 - ProtoSociology 30:63–88.
    David Chalmers and Frank Jackson have promoted a strong program of conceptual analysis, which accords a significant philosophical role to the a priori analysis of concepts. They found this methodological program on an account of concepts using two-dimensional semantics. This paper argues that Chalmers and Jackson’s account of concepts, and the related approach by David Braddon-Mitchell, is inadequate for natural kind concepts as found in biology. Two-dimensional semantics is metaphysically faulty as an account of the nature of concepts and concept (...)
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  24. Learning, Concept Acquisition and Psychological Essentialism.M. J. Cain - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (4):577-598.
    In this article I will evaluate the popular view that we acquire most of our concepts by means of learning. I will do this through an examination of Jerry Fodor’s dissenting views and those of some of his most persistent and significant critics. Although I will be critical of Fodor’s central claim that it is impossible to learn a concept, I will ultimately conclude that we should be more sceptical than is normal about the power of learning when it comes (...)
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  25. 6 Skill Learning and Conceptual Thought.Ellen Fridland - 2013 - In Bana Bashour Hans Muller (ed.), Contemporary Philosophical Naturalism and its Implications. Routledge. pp. 13--77.
  26. How to Improve on Quinian Bootstrapping – a Response to Nativist Objections.Zoltan Jakab - 2013 - Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.
    Quinian bootstrapping is Susan Carey's solution to Fodor’s paradox of concept learning. Carey claims that contrary to Fodor’s view, not all learning amounts to hypothesis testing, and that there are ways in which even primitive concepts can be learned. Recently Georges Rey has argued that Carey’s attempt to refute radical concept nativism is unsuccessful. First it cannot explain how the expressive power of mental representational systems could increase due to learning. Second, both Fodorian circularity charges and Goodmanian problems of indeterminacy (...)
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  27. Constructing a New Theory From Old Ideas and New Evidence.Marjorie Rhodes & Henry Wellman - 2013 - Cognitive Science 37 (3):592-604.
    A central tenet of constructivist models of conceptual development is that children's initial conceptual level constrains how they make sense of new evidence and thus whether exposure to evidence will prompt conceptual change. Yet little experimental evidence directly examines this claim for the case of sustained, fundamental conceptual achievements. The present study combined scaling and experimental microgenetic methods to examine the processes underlying conceptual change in the context of an important conceptual achievement of early childhood—the development of a representational theory (...)
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  28. Concepts in Change.Anna-Mari Rusanen & Samuli Pöyhönen - 2013 - Science & Education 22 (6):1389–1403.
    In this article we focus on the concept of concept in conceptual change. We argue that (1) theories of higher learning must often employ two different notions of concept that should not be conflated: psychological and scientific concepts. The usages for these two notions are partly distinct and thus straightforward identification between them is unwarranted. Hence, the strong analogy between scientific theory change and individual learning should be approached with caution. In addition, we argue that (2) research in psychology and (...)
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  29. 9 Scientific Concepts and Conceptual Change.Hanne Andersen - 2012 - In Vasō Kintē & Theodore Arabatzis (eds.), Kuhn's the Structure of Scientific Revolutions Revisited. Routledge. pp. 179.
  30. The Dynamics of Scientific Concepts: The Relevance of Epistemic Aims and Values.Ingo Brigandt - 2012 - In Uljana Feest & Friedrich Steinle (eds.), Scientific Concepts and Investigative Practice. Berlin: de Gruyter. pp. 75–103.
    The philosophy of science that grew out of logical positivism construed scientific knowledge in terms of set of interconnected beliefs about the world, such as theories and observation statements. Nowadays science is also conceived of as a dynamic process based on the various practices of individual scientists and the institutional settings of science. Two features particularly influence the dynamics of scientific knowledge: epistemic standards and aims (e.g., assumptions about what issues are currently in need of scientific study and explanation). While (...)
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  31. On the Spatial Foundations of the Conceptual System and Its Enrichment.Jean M. Mandler - 2012 - Cognitive Science 36 (3):421-451.
    A theory of how concept formation begins is presented that accounts for conceptual activity in the first year of life, shows how increasing conceptual complexity comes about, and predicts the order in which new types of information accrue to the conceptual system. In a compromise between nativist and empiricist views, it offers a single domain-general mechanism that redescribes attended spatiotemporal information into an iconic form. The outputs of this mechanism consist of types of spatial information that we know infants attend (...)
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  32. Tecendo uma teia: aquisição de conceitos e papel inferencial.John Sarnecki - 2012 - Veritas – Revista de Filosofia da Pucrs 57 (3):138-162.
    Theories of concepts and concept acquisition are mutually constraining. How we envisage concept acquisition depends both on what we take concepts to be and what skills we can employ to acquire them. I argue that Ned Block’s cognitivist approach to concept acquisition is not compatible with his vision of conceptual role semantics. If concepts are defined by their conceptual roles, then the acquisition of new concepts will change the conceptual roles of concepts employed in any form of hypothesis formation and (...)
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  33. Weaving a Web: Concept Acquisition and Inferential Role.John Sarnecki - 2012 - Veritas – Revista de Filosofia da Pucrs 57 (3).
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  34. Theoretical Terms Without Analytic Truths.Michael Strevens - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (1):167-190.
    When new theoretical terms are introduced into scientific discourse, prevailing accounts imply, analytic or semantic truths come along with them, by way of either definitions or reference-fixing descriptions. But there appear to be few or no analytic truths in scientific theory, which suggests that the prevailing accounts are mistaken. This paper looks to research on the psychology of natural kind concepts to suggest a new account of the introduction of theoretical terms that avoids both definition and reference-fixing description. At the (...)
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  35. Fodor and the Impossibility of Learning.Majid Amini - 2011 - In Michael Bruce & Steven Barbone (eds.), Just the Arguments: 100 of the Most Important Arguments in Western Philosophy. Wiley-Blackwell.
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  36. Learning Matters: The Role of Learning in Concept Acquisition.Stephen Laurence Eric Margolis - 2011 - Mind and Language 26 (5):507-539.
    In LOT 2: The Language of Thought Revisited, Jerry Fodor argues that concept learning of any kind—even for complex concepts—is simply impossible. In order to avoid the conclusion that all concepts, primitive and complex, are innate, he argues that concept acquisition depends on purely noncognitive biological processes. In this paper, we show that Fodor fails to establish that concept learning is impossible, that his own biological account of concept acquisition is unworkable, and that there are in fact many promising general (...)
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  37. Beyond the Building Blocks Model.Margolis Laurence - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (3):139-140.
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  38. Learning Matters: The Role of Learning in Concept Acquisition.Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence - 2011 - Mind and Language 26 (5):507-539.
    In LOT 2: The Language of Thought Revisited, Jerry Fodor argues that concept learning of any kind—even for complex concepts—is simply impossible. In order to avoid the conclusion that all concepts, primitive and complex, are innate, he argues that concept acquisition depends on purely noncognitive biological processes. In this paper, we show (1) that Fodor fails to establish that concept learning is impossible, (2) that his own biological account of concept acquisition is unworkable, and (3) that there are in fact (...)
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  39. Beyond the Building Blocks Model.Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (3):139-140.
    This article is a commentary on Carey (2009) The Origin of Concepts. Carey rightly rejects the building blocks model of concept acquisition on the grounds that new primitive concepts can be learned via the process of bootstrapping. But new primitives can be learned by other acquisition processes that do not involve bootstrapping, and bootstrapping itself is not a unitary process. Nonetheless, the processes associated with bootstrapping provide important insights into conceptual change.
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  40. Concepts.Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence - 2011 - 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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  41. New Concepts Can Be Learned: Susan Carey, The Origin of Concepts, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009. [REVIEW]Nicholas Shea - 2011 - Biology and Philosophy 26 (1):129 - 139.
    Many have doubted whether the transition to genuinely new representational resources is susceptible to psychological explanation. In The Origin of Concepts (O.U.P. 2009), Susan Carey makes a strong empirical case for the existence of discontinuities in conceptual development. Carey also offers a plausible psychological explanation of some of these transitions, in particular of the child’s acquisition of the ability to represent natural numbers. The combination amounts to a forceful answer to puzzles about the learnability of new representations.
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  42. Learning Hypothesis Spaces and Dimensions Through Concept Learning.Joseph L. Austerweil & Thomas L. Griffiths - 2010 - In S. Ohlsson & R. Catrambone (eds.), Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Cognitive Science Society. pp. 73--78.
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  43. Scientific Reasoning Is Material Inference: Combining Confirmation, Discovery, and Explanation.Ingo Brigandt - 2010 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (1):31-43.
    Whereas an inference (deductive as well as inductive) is usually viewed as being valid in virtue of its argument form, the present paper argues that scientific reasoning is material inference, i.e., justified in virtue of its content. A material inference is licensed by the empirical content embodied in the concepts contained in the premises and conclusion. Understanding scientific reasoning as material inference has the advantage of combining different aspects of scientific reasoning, such as confirmation, discovery, and explanation. This approach explains (...)
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  44. The Epistemic Goal of a Concept: Accounting for the Rationality of Semantic Change and Variation.Ingo Brigandt - 2010 - Synthese 177 (1):19-40.
    The discussion presents a framework of concepts that is intended to account for the rationality of semantic change and variation, suggesting that each scientific concept consists of three components of content: 1) reference, 2) inferential role, and 3) the epistemic goal pursued with the concept’s use. I argue that in the course of history a concept can change in any of these components, and that change in the concept’s inferential role and reference can be accounted for as being rational relative (...)
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  45. Analogical Insight: Toward Unifying Categorization and Analogy.Eric Dietrich - 2010 - Cognitive Processing 11 (4):331-.
    The purpose of this paper is to present two kinds of analogical representational change, both occurring early in the analogy-making process, and then, using these two kinds of change, to present a model unifying one sort of analogy-making and categorization. The proposed unification rests on three key claims: (1) a certain type of rapid representational abstraction is crucial to making the relevant analogies (this is the first kind of representational change; a computer model is presented that demonstrates this kind of (...)
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  46. The Origin of Concepts.Susan Carey - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
    Only human beings have a rich conceptual repertoire with concepts like tort, entropy, Abelian group, mannerism, icon and deconstruction. How have humans constructed these concepts? And once they have been constructed by adults, how do children acquire them? While primarily focusing on the second question, in The Origin of Concepts , Susan Carey shows that the answers to both overlap substantially. Carey begins by characterizing the innate starting point for conceptual development, namely systems of core cognition. Representations of core cognition (...)
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  47. Where Our Number Concepts Come From.Susan Carey - 2009 - Journal of Philosophy 106 (4):220-254.
  48. Conceptual Equivocation and Epistemic Relevance.Mikkel Gerken - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (2):117-132.
    Much debate has surrounded "switching" scenarios in which a subject's reasoning is said to exhibit the fallacy of equivocation ( Burge 1988 ; Boghossian 1992, 1994 ). Peter Ludlow has argued that such scenarios are "epistemically prevalent" and, therefore, epistemically relevant alternatives ( Ludlow 1995a ). Since a distinctive feature of the cases in question is that the subject blamelessly engages in conceptual equivocation, we may label them 'equivocational switching cases'. Ludlow's influential argument occurs in a discussion about compatibilism with (...)
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  49. Experimental Philosophy of Science.Paul E. Griffiths & Karola Stotz - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (3):507–521.
    Experimental philosophy of science gathers empirical data on how key scientific concepts are understood by particular scientific communities. In this paper we briefly describe two recent studies in experimental philosophy of biology, one investigating the concept of the gene, the other the concept of innateness. The use of experimental methods reveals facts about these concepts that would not be accessible using the traditional method of intuitions about possible cases. It also contributes to the study of conceptual change in science, which (...)
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  50. Building on Sellars: Concept Formation and Scientific Realism. [REVIEW]Tanya Kelley - 2008 - Metascience 17 (2):257-259.
    Harold Brown has written an ambitious work, which traces the formation of concepts in individuals and cultures, examines case studies of concepts in calculus, mathematics, biology and related fields, summarises important philosophical works on the theory of concepts, and seeks to reconcile scientific realism with conceptual change. Brown considers himself a scientific realist but concedes that this very label is one that depends on a long history of concepts that came before, and may indeed be superseded as conceptual change continues. (...)
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