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Summary Debates on the ontology of concepts focus on what sorts of things they are. There are roughly three major positions on concept ontology. The first is that concepts are abstrata: non-psychological entities such as properties or Fregean senses. The second is that concepts are mental representations or some other type of psychological entities. The third is that concepts are abilities of some kind, such as the ability to recognize their instances.
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  1. On Peacocke's Theory of Concepts.Asuncion Alvarez - 2006 - In E. Di Nucci & C McHugh (eds.), Content, Consciousness, and Perception: Essays in Contemporary Philosophy of Mind. Cambridge Scholars Press.
    How are we to understand the notion of concept, the very concept of concept itself? One natural way, it seems to me, is to take Fregean sense as a model, and imposing similar constraints on a theory of concepts. This approach has the advantage, among others, of allowing for a distinction to be made between publicly shared, objective concepts, on the one hand, and private, subjective mental representations on the other - a distinction which, I believe, is desirable for various (...)
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  2. Semantic Competence, Linguistic Understanding, and a Theory of Concepts.Nicholas M. Asher - 1988 - Philosophical Studies 53 (January):1-36.
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  3. The Pleonasticity of Talk About Concepts.Alex Barber - 1998 - Philosophical Studies 89 (1):53-86.
    The paper aims to disarm arguments, prevalent in diverse philosophical contexts, that deny the legitimacy of attributions of propositional attitudes on the grounds that the putative subject lacks one or more of the requite concepts. Its strategy is to offer and defend an extremely minimal account on concept possession. The agenda of the paper broadens into a defence of the thesis that concepts are a linguistic epiphenomenon: talk about them emerges as the result of certain contingently available and pleonastic ways (...)
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  4. On the Nature of Concepts: An Essay in Metaphysics.Daniel Workman Barwick - 1997 - Dissertation, State University of New York at Buffalo
    This dissertation proposes an original theory of concepts. Under this theory, concepts are not understood as independent entities, but as the activity of judging that something is the same as or different from something else. This judgment may be intentional or nonintentional. I consider theories of concepts that have been proposed throughout the history of philosophy, and I reject them. I further claim that nonconceptual awareness is impossible.
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  5. Concept.George Bealer - 1995 - In Jaegwon Kim & Ernest Sosa (eds.), A Companion to Metaphysics. Blackwell. pp. 89-90.
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  6. Sense, Mentalese, and Ontology.Jacob Beck - 2013 - ProtoSociology 30:29-48.
    Modes of presentation are often posited to accommodate Frege’s puzzle. Philosophers differ, however, in whether they follow Frege in identifying modes of presentation with Fregean senses, or instead take them to be formally individuated symbols of “Mentalese”. Building on Fodor, Margolis and Laurence defend the latter view by arguing that the mind-independence of Fregean senses renders them ontologically suspect in a way that Mentalese symbols are not. This paper shows how Fregeans can withstand this objection. Along the way, a clearer (...)
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  7. Concepts: Foundational Issues.Malte Dahlgrün - unknown
    This dissertation has three parts. Part I, comprising chapters 1 and 2, addresses some basic commitments which must be presupposed in theorizing about concepts. Concepts, to a first approximation, are mental representations that are constituents of thoughts. Chapter 1 attempts to clarify the notion of representing. Chapter 2 reconstructs arguments in the work of Frege against the mental nature of thoughts and (by the same token) of concepts, arguing that they are confused and leave the notion of concepts as mental (...)
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  8. Concepts and Properties.Dennis Earl - 2006 - Metaphysica 7 (1):67-85.
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  9. A Cognitivist Approach to Concepts.Hans Johann Glock - unknown
    Th is article explores a cognitivist approach to concepts. Such an approach steers a middle course between the Scylla of subjectivism and the Charybdis of objectivism. While concepts are not mental particulars, they have an ineliminable cognitive dimension. Th e article explores several versions of cognitivism, focusing in particular on Künne’s Neo-Fregean proposal that concepts are modes of presentation. It also tackles a challenge facing all cognitivist accounts, namely the ‘proposition problem’: how can the cognitive dimension of concepts be reconciled (...)
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  10. Concepts: Where Subjectivism Goes Wrong.Hans Johann Glock - unknown
    The debate about concepts has always been shaped by a contrast between subjectivism, which treats them as phenomena in the mind or head of individuals, and objectivism, which insists that they exist independently of individual minds. The most prominent contemporary version of subjectivism is Fodor's RTM. The Fregean charge against subjectivism is that it cannot do justice to the fact that different individuals can share the same concepts. Proponents of RTM have accepted shareability as a ‘non-negotiable constraint’. At the same (...)
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  11. Concepts, Abilities, and Propositions.Hans-Johann Glock - 2010 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 81 (1):115-134.
    This article investigates whether the concept of a concept can be given a fairly uniform explanation through a 'cognitivist' account, one that accepts that concepts exist independently of individual subjects, yet nonetheless invokes mental achievements and capacities. I consider various variants of such an account, which identify a concept, respectively, with a certain kind of abilitiy, rule and way of thinking. All of them are confronted with what I call the 'proposition problem', namely that unlike these explananda concepts are standardly (...)
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  12. Concepts: Where Subjectivism Goes Wrong.Hans-Johann Glock - 2009 - Philosophy 84 (1):5-29.
    The debate about concepts has always been shaped by a contrast between subjectivism, which treats them as phenomena in the mind or head of individuals, and objectivism, which insists that they exist independently of individual minds. The most prominent contemporary version of subjectivism is Fodor's RTM. The Fregean charge against subjectivism is that it cannot do justice to the fact that different individuals can share the same concepts. Proponents of RTM have accepted shareability as a 'non-negotiable constraint'. At the same (...)
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  13. Knowledge Structures and the Nature of Concepts.David Hommen & Tanja Osswald - 2016 - In David Hommen, Christoph Kann & Tanja Osswald (eds.), Concepts and Categorization. Systematic and Historical Perspectives. mentis.
    It has become commonplace in the theory of concepts to distinguish between questions about the structure and questions about the ontology of concepts. Structural questions concern the way concepts are composed of, or otherwise related to, other concepts (or non-conceptual constituents), while ontological questions concern the metaphysical nature of concepts: how concepts exist (if they exist); what kind of entities they are. A tacit assumption in discussions about the structure and ontology of concepts seems to be that structural and ontological (...)
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  14. Concepts, Brains, and Behaviour.Anthony Kenny - 2010 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 81 (1):105-113.
    Concepts are best understood as a particular kind of human ability: a person who has mastered the use of a word for F in some language possesses the concept of F. Abilities are individuated by their possessors and their exercises, though they are not to be identified with either. Typically abilities are associated with vehicles, that is to say underlying actualities which account for their exercises. The mind is the human ability to form concepts, and its principal vehicle is the (...)
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  15. Noema and Thinkability: An Essay on Husserl's Theory of Intentionality.Łukasz Kosowski - 2010 - Ontos.
    The years of study on Husserl’s theory of intentionality have led to a number of non-equivalent interpretations. The present work attempts to investigate the most prominent of these by presenting both their advantages and difficulties. However, its key point is specifically the analysis of Husserl’s theory. This is made in several stages that are concerned with the relation between noesis and noema: whether it is one-to-one or many-to-one, the kind of transcendency and dependency between them, and whether noema supervenes on (...)
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  16. Concepts Are a Functional Kind. Comment on Machery's Doing Without Concepts.Elisabetta Lalumera - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):217-18.
    This commentary focuses on Machery's eliminativist claim, that ought to be eliminated from the theoretical vocabulary of psychology because it fails to denote a natural kind. I argue for the more traditional view that concepts are a functional kind, which provides the simplest account of the empirical evidence discussed by Machery.
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  17. New Perspectives on Concepts.Julia Langkau & Christian Nimtz (eds.) - 2010 - Rodopi.
    Much recent work on concepts has been inspired by and developed within the bounds of the representational theory of the mind often taken for granted by philosophers of mind, cognitive scientists, and psychologists alike. The contributions to this volume take a more encompassing perspective on the issue of concepts. Rather than modelling details of our representational architecture in line with the dominant paradigm, they explore three traditional issues concerning concepts. Is mastery of a language necessary for thought? Do concepts reduce (...)
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  18. 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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  19. The Ontology of Concepts: Abstract Objects or Mental Representations?Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence - 2007 - Noûs 41 (4):561-593.
    What is a concept? Philosophers have given many different answers to this question, reflecting a wide variety of approaches to the study of mind and language. Nonetheless, at the most general level, there are two dominant frameworks in contemporary philosophy. One proposes that concepts are mental representations, while the other proposes that they are abstract objects. This paper looks at the differences between these two approaches, the prospects for combining them, and the issues that are involved in the dispute. We (...)
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  20. Review of 'Historia y hermenéutica' by José Luis Villacañas and Faustino Oncina. [REVIEW]María G. Navarro - 1999 - Logos:249-251.
    La publicación de Historia y hermenéutica representa, temática y estructuralmente, una nueva invitación al diálogo. Con ocasión del octogésimo cumpleaños de Hans-George Gadamer, el metodólogo de la historia Reinhart Koselleck ofreció la conferencia 'Histórica y hermenéutica' el horizonte de la pregunta que encierra la conferencia fue abierto por Gadamer con su tentativa de respuesta 'Histórica y lenguaje'. Con todo, la descripción de un libro que invita a una lectura estructuralmente dialogal es incompleta si no se muestra, al menos sintetizadamente, el (...)
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  21. Two Constraints on a Theory of Concepts.Andrea Onofri - 2016 - Dialectica 70 (1):3-27.
    Two general principles have played a crucial role in the recent debate on concepts. On the one hand, we want to allow different subjects to have the same concepts, thus accounting for concept publicity: concepts are ‘the sort of thing that people can, and do, share’. On the other hand, a subject who finds herself in a so-called ‘Frege case’ appears to have different concepts for the same object: for instance, Lois Lane has two distinct concepts SUPERMAN and CLARK KENT (...)
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  22. The Metaphysics of Concepts.Christopher Peacocke - 1991 - Mind 100 (399):525-46.
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  23. Why Believe in Demonstrative Concepts?David Pereplyotchik - 2011 - Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2):636-638.
    I examine two arguments for the existence of demonstrative concepts—one due to Chuard (2006) and another due to Brewer (1999). I point out some important difficulties in each. I hope to show that much more work must be done to legitimize positing demonstrative concepts.
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  24. Neural Plasticity and Concepts Ontogeny.Alessio Plebe & Marco Mazzone - 2016 - Synthese 193 (12):3889-3929.
    Neural plasticity has been invoked as a powerful argument against nativism. However, there is a line of argument, which is well exemplified by Pinker and more recently by Laurence and Margolis The conceptual mind: new directions in the study of concepts, MIT, Cambridge, 2015) with respect to concept nativism, according to which even extreme cases of plasticity show important innate constraints, so that one should rather speak of “constrained plasticity”. According to this view, cortical areas are not really equipotential, they (...)
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  25. Le véritable retour des définitions.Pierre Poirier & Guillaume Beaulac - 2011 - Dialogue 50 (1):153-164.
    In our critical review of Doing without Concepts, we argue that although the heterogeneity hypothesis (according to which exemplars, prototypes and theories are natural kinds that should replace ‘concept’) may end fruitless debates in the psychology of concepts, Edouard Machery did not anticipate one consequence of his suggestion: Definitions now acquire a new status as another one of the bodies of information replacing ‘concept’. In order to support our hypothesis, we invoke dual-process models to suggest that prototypes, exemplars and theories (...)
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  26. Content, Concepts, Concept Possession.Eva Schmidt - 2015 - In Modest Nonconceptualism. Springer Verlag.
    In this chapter, I clarify the notions of mental content and of concept. I present competing views on these notions and indicate my own position. I introduce content in terms of correctness conditions and distinguish several kinds of propositions, as well as non-propositional scenario content, with which perceptual content might be identified. I relate this discussion to a wide-spread commitment in philosophy of perception to respect the subject’s perceptual perspective in ascriptions of perceptual content. Then I compare views of concepts (...)
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  27. Three Distinctions About Concepts and Categorization.Edward E. Smith - 1989 - Mind and Language 4 (1-2):57-61.
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  28. Categories and Concepts.Edward E. Smith & L. Douglas - 1981 - Harvard University Press.
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  29. Exorcising Concepts.Robert Sokolowski - 1987 - Review of Metaphysics 40 (March):451-463.
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  30. Abilities, Concepts, and Externalism.Ernest Sosa - 1993 - In John Heil & Alfred R. Mele (eds.), Mental Causation. Oxford University Press.
  31. Are Concepts Mental Representations or Abstracta?John Sutton - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (1):89-108.
    I argue that thoughts and concepts are mental representations rather than abstracta. I propose that the most important difference between the two views is that the mentalist believes that there are concept and thought tokens as well as types; this reveals that the dispute is not terminological but ontological. I proceed to offer an argument for mentalism. The key step is to establish that concepts and thoughts have lexical as well as semantic properties. I then show that this entails that (...)
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  32. Intentionality as Partial Identity.Christopher M. P. Tomaszewski - 2017 - Southwest Philosophy Review 33 (1):15-23.
    One of the greatest challenges facing materialist theories of the human mind is the problem of intentionality. As many non-materialists of various stripes have pointed out, it is very difficult to say, if the human mind is a purely material thing, how this material thing can be about or represent another thing wholly distinct from itself. However, for their part, these same non-materialists have relied heavily or exclusively on this intuition that one material thing cannot be about another. In this (...)
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  33. Fregean Senses, Modes of Presentation, and Concepts.Edward N. Zalta - 2001 - Philosophical Perspectives 15 (s15):335-359.
    of my axiomatic theory of abstract objects.<sup>1</sup> The theory asserts the ex- istence not only of ordinary properties, relations, and propositions, but also of abstract individuals and abstract properties and relations. The.
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  34. A (Leibnizian) Theory of Concepts.Edward N. Zalta - 2000 - Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy 3:137-183.
    In this paper, the author develops a theory of concepts and shows that it captures many of the ideas about concepts that Leibniz expressed in his work. Concepts are first analyzed in terms of a precise background theory of abstract objects, and once concept summation and concept containment are defined, the axioms and theorems of Leibniz's calculus of concepts (in his logical papers) are derived. This analysis of concepts is then seamlessly connected with Leibniz's modal metaphysics of complete individual concepts. (...)
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