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Summary Prototype and exemplar theories are both versions of statistical theories of concepts. These theories generally hold that concepts represent categories by means of some statistically important properties of their referents. Prototype theories hold that concepts represent categories by means of a summary of the typical properties that category members possess. Exemplar theories hold that concepts represent categories by means of a cluster of individual category members that may be used to extract the statistical central tendency of the category.
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  1. The Logic of Exemplarity.Jakub Mácha - forthcoming - Law and Literature (online first):1-15.
    The topic of exemplarity has attracted considerable interest in philosophy, legal theory, literary studies and art recently. There is broad consensus that exemplary cases mediate between singular instances and general concepts or norms. The aim of this article is to provide an additional perspective on the logic of exemplarity. First, inspired by Jacques Derrida’s discussion of exemplarity, I shall argue that there is a kind of différance between (singular) examples and (general) exemplars. What an example exemplifies, the exemplarity of the (...)
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  2. The Early Husserl on Typicality.Hamid Taieb - 2021 - In Arnaud Dewalque, Charlotte Gauvry & Sébastien Richard (eds.), Philosophy of Language in the Brentano School. Cham, Suisse: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 263–278..
    This paper presents and evaluates the early Husserl’s account of typicality. In the Logical Investigations, Husserl holds that the meaning of ordinary language (common) names is sensitive to typicality: this meaning depends on typical examples which vary in different contexts and are more or less similar to one another. This seems to entail that meanings, which according to Husserl are concepts, are “fluctuating” (schwankend) and vague. Prima facie, such a claim contravenes his theory of ideal meanings, or concepts, which are (...)
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  3. The Spirit of Cocktails: On the Conceptual Structure of Cocktail Recipes.Davide Serpico, M. Cristina Amoretti & Marcello Frixione - 2020 - Humana Mente 38 (13):37-59.
    In this paper, we discuss the conceptual structure of cocktail recipes. This topic involves engaging questions for philosophers and food theorists due to some peculiar characteristics of cocktail recipes, such as the fact that they are standardised by international associations but, nonetheless, vagueness in some elements of the recipes introduces a degree of variability between cocktails of the same type. Our proposal is that a classical theory of concepts is unable to account for such peculiar features. Thus, only a hybrid (...)
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  4. Genealogy and Knowledge-First Epistemology: A Mismatch?Matthieu Queloz - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (274):100-120.
    This paper examines three reasons to think that Craig's genealogy of the concept of knowledge is incompatible with knowledge-first epistemology and finds that far from being incompatible with it, the genealogy lends succour to it. This reconciliation turns on two ideas. First, the genealogy is not history, but a dynamic model of needs. Secondly, by recognizing the continuity of Craig's genealogy with Williams's genealogy of truthfulness, we can see that while both genealogies start out from specific needs explaining what drives (...)
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  5. Teleological Essentialism.David Rose & Shaun Nichols - 2019 - Cognitive Science 43 (4):e12725.
    Placeholder essentialism is the view that there is a causal essence that holds category members together, though we may not know what the essence is. Sometimes the placeholder can be filled in by scientific essences, such as when we acquire scientific knowledge that the atomic weight of gold is 79. We challenge the view that placeholders are elaborated by scientific essences. On our view, if placeholders are elaborated, they are elaborated Aristotelian essences, a telos. Utilizing the same kinds of experiments (...)
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  6. Nietzsche’s Polychrome Exemplarism.Mark Alfano - 2018 - Ethics and Politics 2:45-64.
    In this paper, I develop an account of Nietzschean exemplarism. Drawing on my previous work, I argue that an agent’s instincts and other drives constitute her psychological type. In this framework, a drive counts as a virtue to the extent that it is well-calibrated with the rest of the agent’s psychic economy and meets with sentiments of approbation from the agent’s community. Different virtues are fitting for different types, and different types elicit different discrete emotions in people with fine-tuned affective (...)
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  7. Representing Concepts by Weighted Formulas.Daniele Porello & Claudio Masolo - 2018 - In Stefano Borgo, Pascal Hitzler & Oliver Kutz (eds.), Formal Ontology in Information Systems - Proceedings of the 10th International Conference, {FOIS} 2018, Cape Town, South Africa, 19-21 September 2018. IOS Press. pp. 55--68.
    A concept is traditionally defined via the necessary and sufficient conditions that clearly determine its extension. By contrast, cognitive views of concepts intend to account for empirical data that show that categorisation under a concept presents typicality effects and a certain degree of indeterminacy. We propose a formal language to compactly represent concepts by leveraging on weighted logical formulas. In this way, we can model the possible synergies among the qualities that are relevant for categorising an object under a concept. (...)
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  8. Normality: Part Descriptive, Part Prescriptive.Adam Bear & Joshua Knobe - 2017 - Cognition 167:25-37.
    People’s beliefs about normality play an important role in many aspects of cognition and life (e.g., causal cognition, linguistic semantics, cooperative behavior). But how do people determine what sorts of things are normal in the first place? Past research has studied both people’s representations of statistical norms (e.g., the average) and their representations of prescriptive norms (e.g., the ideal). Four studies suggest that people’s notion of normality incorporates both of these types of norms. In particular, people’s representations of what is (...)
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  9. The Conceptual Space Explanation of the Rubber Hand Illusion: First Experimental Tests.Glenn Carruthers, Xiaoqing Gao, Regine Zopf, Alicia Wilcox & Rachel Robbins - 2017 - Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice 4 (2):161-175.
    The experience of embodiment may be studied using the rubber hand illusion. Little is known about the cognitive mechanism that elicits the feeling of embodiment. In previous models of the rubber hand illusion, bodily signals are processed sequentially. Such models cannot explain some more recent findings. Carruthers (2013) proposed a multidimensional model of embodiment, in which the processing of embodiment is understood in terms of conceptual hand space. Visual features of hands are represented along several dimensions. The rubber hand illusion (...)
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  10. Dual Character Concepts in Social Cognition: Commitments and the Normative Dimension of Conceptual Representation.Del Pinal Guillermo & Reuter Kevin - 2017 - Cognitive Science 41 (S3):477–501.
    The concepts expressed by social role terms such as artist and scientist are unique in that they seem to allow two independent criteria for categorization, one of which is inherently normative. This study presents and tests an account of the content and structure of the normative dimension of these “dual character concepts.” Experiment 1 suggests that the normative dimension of a social role concept represents the commitment to fulfill the idealized basic function associated with the role. Background information can affect (...)
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  11. Ciclo de vida de un concepto en el marco de la cognición ad hoc.José V. Hernández-Conde - 2017 - Theoria. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science 32 (3):271.
    Recently, Casasanto and Lupyan (2015) have asserted that there are no context-independent concepts: all concepts are constructed ad hoc when they are instantiated. My aim is to show that the ad hoc cognition framework can be characterized by a similarity-based theory of concepts, and that two different notions of concept should be distinguished —which may be identified with two distinct stages of their life cycle (storage and instantiation). This approach brings together virtues from opposing views: (a) invariantist: stored concepts are (...)
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  12. Prototypes as Compositional Components of Concepts.Guillermo Del Pinal - 2016 - Synthese 193 (9):2899–2927.
    The aim of this paper is to reconcile two claims that have long been thought to be incompatible: that we compositionally determine the meaning of complex expressions from the meaning of their parts, and that prototypes are components of the meaning of lexical terms such as fish, red, and gun. Hypotheses and are independently plausible, but most researchers think that reconciling them is a difficult, if not hopeless task. In particular, most linguists and philosophers agree that is not negotiable; so (...)
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  13. A Frame-Based Approach for Theoretical Concepts.Stephan Kornmesser - 2016 - Synthese 193 (1):145-166.
    According to a seminal paper by Barsalou , frames are attribute-value-matrices for representing exemplars or concepts. Frames have been used as a tool for reconstructing scientific concepts as well as conceptual change within scientific revolutions . In the frame-based representations of scientific concepts developed so far the semantic content of concepts is determined by a set of attribute-specific values. This way of representing semantic content works best for prototype concepts and defined concepts of a conceptual taxonomy satisfying the no-overlap principle. (...)
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  14. Review of Christopher Gauker, Words and Images: An Essay on the Origin of Ideas, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. [REVIEW]Robert Briscoe - 2014 - Mind 123 (491):902-096.
  15. Précis de Doing Without Concepts.Édouard Machery - 2011 - Dialogue 50 (1):141-152.
  16. Précis of Doing Without Concepts.Edouard Machery - 2010 - Mind and Language 25 (5):602-611.
  17. Précis of Doing Without Concepts.Edouard Machery - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 149 (3):602-611.
    Although cognitive scientists have learned a lot about concepts, their findings have yet to be organized in a coherent theoretical framework. In addition, after twenty years of controversy, there is little sign that philosophers and psychologists are converging toward an agreement about the very nature of concepts. Doing without Concepts (Machery 2009) attempts to remedy this state of affairs. In this article, I review the main points and arguments developed at greater length in Doing without Concepts.
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  18. Concepts: Stored or Created?Marco Mazzone & Elisabetta Lalumera - 2010 - Minds and Machines 20 (1):47-68.
    Are concepts stable entities, unchanged from context to context? Or rather are they context-dependent structures, created on the fly? We argue that this does not constitute a genuine dilemma. Our main thesis is that the more a pattern of features is general and shared, the more it qualifies as a concept. Contextualists have not shown that conceptual structures lack a stable, general core, acting as an attractor on idiosyncratic information. What they have done instead is to give a contribution to (...)
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  19. Doing Without Concepts.Edouard Machery - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
    Over recent years, the psychology of concepts has been rejuvenated by new work on prototypes, inventive ideas on causal cognition, the development of neo-empiricist theories of concepts, and the inputs of the budding neuropsychology of concepts. But our empirical knowledge about concepts has yet to be organized in a coherent framework. -/- In Doing without Concepts, Edouard Machery argues that the dominant psychological theories of concepts fail to provide such a framework and that drastic conceptual changes are required to make (...)
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  20. Atomism, Pluralism, and Conceptual Content.Daniel A. Weiskopf - 2009 - 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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  21. The Plurality of Concepts.Daniel Aaron Weiskopf - 2009 - 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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  22. A Note on Prototypes, Convexity and Fuzzy Sets.Norman Foo & Boon Toh Low - 2008 - Studia Logica 90 (1):125-137.
    The work on prototypes in ontologies pioneered by Rosch [10] and elaborated by Lakoff [8] and Freund [3] is related to vagueness in the sense that the more remote an instance is from a prototype the fewer people agree that it is an example of that prototype. An intuitive example is the prototypical “mother”, and it is observed that more specific instances like ”single mother”, “adoptive mother”, “surrogate mother”, etc., are less and less likely to be classified as “mothers” by (...)
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  23. On Prototypes as Defaults.Martin Jönsson & James Hampton - 2008 - Cognition 106 (2):913-923.
  24. Why Stereotypes Don’T Even Make Good Defaults.Andrew C. Connolly, Jerry A. Fodor, Lila R. Gleitman & Henry Gleitman - 2007 - Cognition 103 (1):1-22.
  25. Chapter 1. Prospects and Problems of Prototype Theory.Dirk Geeraerts - 2006 - In Words and Other Wonders: Papers on Lexical and Semantic Topics. Mouton de Gruyter.
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  26. On the Prototype Theory of Concepts and the Definition of Art.Thomas Adajian - 2005 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63 (3):231–236.
    It has been claimed that the prototype theory of concepts supports two controversial claims in the philosophy of art: that art cannot be defined, and that the possession of a certain sort of historical narrative is a sufficient but not necessary means of determining the art status of contested works. It is argued here that two sorts of considerations undermine the thesis that prototype theory offers significant support to anti-definitionism and historical narrativism. First, there is reason to think that prototype (...)
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  27. Concepts Are Not a Natural Kind.Edouard Machery - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (3):444-467.
    In cognitive psychology, concepts are those data structures that are stored in long-term memory and are used by default in human beings.
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  28. Furnishing the Mind: Concepts and Their Perceptual Basis.Jesse J. Prinz - 2002 - MIT Press.
  29. How to Blunt the Sword of Compositionality.Philip Robbins - 2002 - Noûs 36 (2):313-334.
  30. Concepts and Prototypes.James A. Hampton - 2000 - Mind and Language 15 (2-3):299-307.
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  31. Diachronic Prototype Semantics. A Digest.Dirk Geeraerts - 1999 - In Andreas Blank & Peter Koch (eds.), Historical Semantics and Cognition. Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 107.
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  32. Concepts: Core Readings.Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence (eds.) - 1999 - MIT Press.
    The first part of the book centers around the fall of the Classical Theory of Concepts in the face of attacks by W. V. O. Quine, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Eleanor..
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  33. Ontology and Geographic Objects: An Empirical Study of Cognitive Categorization.David M. Mark, Barry Smith & Barbara Tversky - 1999 - In C. Freksa & David M. Mark (eds.), Spatial Information Theory. Cognitive and Computational Foundations of Geographic Information Science (Lecture Notes in Computer Science 1661). pp. 283-298.
    Cognitive categories in the geographic realm appear to manifest certain special features as contrasted with categories for objects at surveyable scales. We have argued that these features reflect specific ontological characteristics of geographic objects. This paper presents hypotheses as to the nature of the features mentioned, reviews previous empirical work on geographic categories, and presents the results of pilot experiments that used English-speaking subjects to test our hypotheses. Our experiments show geographic categories to be similar to their non-geographic counterparts in (...)
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  34. Concepts: Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong.Jerry A. Fodor - 1998 - Oxford University Press.
    The renowned philosopher Jerry Fodor, a leading figure in the study of the mind for more than twenty years, presents a strikingly original theory on the basic constituents of thought. He suggests that the heart of cognitive science is its theory of concepts, and that cognitive scientists have gone badly wrong in many areas because their assumptions about concepts have been mistaken. Fodor argues compellingly for an atomistic theory of concepts, deals out witty and pugnacious demolitions of rival theories, and (...)
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  35. Building Block Dilemmas.Christopher Gauker - 1998 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1):26-27.
    Feature-based theories of concept formation face two dilemmas. First, for many natural concepts, it is hard to see how the concepts of the features could be developmentally more basic. Second, concept formation must be guided by “abstraction heuristics,” but these can be neither universal principles of rational thought nor natural conventions.
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  36. The Alleged Incompatibility of Prototypes and Compositionality.Alfredo Paternoster - 1998 - Acta Analytica 13:61-69.
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  37. The Red Herring and the Pet Fish: Why Concepts Still Can't Be Prototypes.Jerry A. Fodor & Ernest Lepore - 1996 - Cognition 58 (2):253-70.
    1 There is a Standard Objection to the idea that concepts might be prototypes (or exemplars, or stereotypes): Because they are productive, concepts must be compositional. Prototypes aren't compositional, so concepts can't be prototypes (see, e.g., Margolis, 1994).2 However, two recent papers (Osherson and Smith, 1988; Kamp and Partee, 1995) reconsider this consensus. They suggest that, although the Standard Objection is probably right in the long run, the cases where prototypes fail to exhibit compositionality are relatively exotic and involve phenomena (...)
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  38. Similar, and Similar Concepts.Lila R. Gleitman, Henry Gleitman, Carol Miller & Ruth Ostrin - 1996 - Cognition 58 (3):321-376.
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  39. Concepts; A Potboiler.Jerry A. Fodor - 1995 - Philosophical Issues 6:1-24.
  40. Prototype Theory and Compositionality.H. Kamp - 1995 - Cognition 57 (2):129-191.
  41. Two Concepts of Concept.Muhammad ali KhAlidi - 1995 - Mind and Language 10 (4):402-22.
    Two main theories of concepts have emerged in the recent psychological literature: the Prototype Theory (which considers concepts to be self-contained lists of features) and the Theory Theory (which conceives of them as being embedded within larger theoretical networks). Experiments supporting the first theory usually differ substantially from those supporting the second, which suggests that these the· ories may be operating at different levels of explanation and dealing with different entities. A convergence is proposed between the Theory Theory and the (...)
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  42. An Extraterrestrial Perspective on Conceptual Development.Christopher Gauker - 1993 - Mind and Language 8 (1):105-30.
    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 (...)
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  43. Meaning, Prototypes and the Future of Cognitive Science.J. Brakel - 1991 - Minds and Machines 1 (3):233-257.
    In this paper I evaluate the soundness of the prototype paradigm, in particular its basic assumption that there are pan-human psychological essences or core meanings that refer to basic-level natural kinds, explaining why, on the whole, human communication and learning are successful. Instead I argue that there are no particular pan-human basic elements for thought, meaning and cognition, neither prototypes, nor otherwise. To illuminate my view I draw on examples from anthropology. More generally I argue that the prototype paradigm exemplifies (...)
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  44. Prototypes Revisited.Robert E. MacLaur - 1991 - Annual Review of Anthropology 20:55-74.
  45. Meaning, Prototypes and the Future of Cognitive Science.Jaap van Brakel - 1991 - Minds and Machines 1 (3):233-57.
    In this paper I evaluate the soundness of the prototype paradigm, in particular its basic assumption that there are pan-human psychological essences or core meanings that refer to basic-level natural kinds, explaining why, on the whole, human communication and learning are successful. Instead I argue that there are no particular pan-human basic elements for thought, meaning and cognition, neither prototypes, nor otherwise. To illuminate my view I draw on examples from anthropology. More generally I argue that the prototype paradigm exemplifies (...)
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  46. Concepts, Prototypes, and Information.Richard E. Grandy - 1990 - In Enrique Villanueva (ed.), Information, Semantics, and Epistemology. Blackwell.
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  47. Meanings and Prototypes: Studies in Linguistic Categorization.Savas L. Tsohatzidis (ed.) - 1990 - Routledge.
  48. Concepts and Conceptual Structure.D. L. Medin - 1989 - American Psychologist 44:1469-81.
  49. Empiricist Versus Prototype Theories of Language Acquisition.Nathan Stemmer - 1989 - Mind and Language 4 (3):201-221.
  50. The Instability of Graded Structure: Implications for the Nature of Concepts.Lawrence Barsalou - 1987 - In U. Neisser (ed.), Concepts and Conceptual Development: Ecological and Intellectual Factors in Categorization. Cambridge University Press. pp. 101-140.
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