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Summary Theory-based views of concepts claim that they are identified or intimately associated with miniature theories of how things in their target domain tend to function. These theories take the form of general causal-explanatory principles describing how the properties, objects, and events in the category hang together and how deeper or hidden properties produce and sustain observable ones. Such theories often focus on describing essential properties for category membership such as having the right internal organization or composition. These theories differ from full-blown scientific theories in being sketchy, limited in their explanatory and predictive scope, and potentially mistaken in certain details.
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  1. added 2019-09-24
    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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  2. added 2019-08-09
    Thinking About Spacetime.David Yates - forthcoming - In Christian Wüthrich, Baptiste Le Bihan & Nick Huggett (eds.), Philosophy Beyond Spacetime. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Several different quantum gravity research programmes suggest, for various reasons, that spacetime is not part of the fundamental ontology of physics. This gives rise to the problem of empirical coherence: if fundamental physical entities do not occupy spacetime or instantiate spatiotemporal properties, how can fundamental theories concerning those entities be justified by observation of spatiotemporally located things like meters, pointers and dials? I frame the problem of empirical coherence in terms of entailment: how could a non-spatiotemporal fundamental theory entail spatiotemporal (...)
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  3. added 2019-06-06
    Concepts; A Potboiler.Jerry A. Fodor - 1995 - Philosophical Issues 6:1-24.
  4. added 2019-01-20
    An Essentialist Theory of the Meaning of Slurs.Eleonore Neufeld - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    In this paper, I develop an essentialist model of the semantics of slurs. I defend the view that slurs are a species of kind terms: Slur concepts encode mini-theories which represent an essence-like element that is causally connected to a set of negatively-valenced stereotypical features of a social group. The truth-conditional contribution of slur nouns can then be captured by the following schema: For a given slur S of a social group G and a person P, S is true of (...)
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  5. added 2018-03-21
    The Essence of Essentialism.George E. Newman & Joshua Knobe - 2019 - Mind and Language 34 (5):585-605.
    Over the past several decades, psychological essentialism has been an important topic of study, incorporating research from multiple areas of psychology, philosophy and linguistics. At its most basic level, essentialism is the tendency to represent certain concepts in terms of a deeper, unobservable property that is responsible for category membership. Originally, this concept was used to understand people’s reasoning about natural kind concepts, such as TIGER and WATER, but more recently, researchers have identified the emergence of essentialist-like intuitions in a (...)
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  6. added 2018-02-17
    A Common Structure for Concepts of Individuals, Stuffs, and Real Kinds: More Mama, More Milk, and More Mouse.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1997 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1):55-65.
    Concepts are highly theoretical entities. One cannot study them empirically without committing oneself to substantial preliminary assumptions. Among the competing theories of concepts and categorization developed by psychologists in the last thirty years, the implicit theoretical assumption that what falls under a concept is determined by description () has never been seriously challenged. I present a nondescriptionist theory of our most basic concepts, which include (1) stuffs (gold, milk), (2) real kinds (cat, chair), and (3) individuals (Mama, Bill Clinton, the (...)
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  7. added 2017-11-16
    Creations of the Mind: Theories of Artifacts and Their Representaion.Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence (eds.) - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    Creations of the Mind presents sixteen original essays by theorists from a wide variety of disciplines who have a shared interest in the nature of artifacts and their implications for the human mind. All the papers are written specially for this volume, and they cover a broad range of topics concerned with the metaphysics of artifacts, our concepts of artifacts and the categories that they represent, the emergence of an understanding of artifacts in infants' cognitive development, as well as the (...)
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  8. added 2017-05-09
    Précis de Doing Without Concepts.Édouard Machery - 2011 - Dialogue 50 (1):141-152.
  9. added 2017-05-09
    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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  10. added 2017-05-09
    Précis of Doing Without Concepts.Edouard Machery - 2010 - Mind and Language 25 (5):602-611.
  11. added 2017-05-09
    1. The Theory-Theory of Concepts.Deborah Kelemen & Susan Carey - 2007 - In Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence (eds.), Creations of the Mind: Theories of Artifacts and Their Representaion. Oxford University Press. pp. 212.
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  12. added 2017-05-09
    Scientific Concepts and Their Changes.Vladimir Kuznetsov - 2005 - In International scientific conference ' Day of Science on Philosophy Faculty - 2005' (Міжнар. наук. конф. “Дні науки філософського факультету-2005”. Philosophy Faculty of the National Kyiv University. pp. 68-69.
    The changes of concepts are described in the frame of concept triplet model. -/- .
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  13. added 2016-12-08
    Psychological Essentialism and Semantic Externalism: Evidence for Externalism in Lay Speakers' Language Use.Jussi Jylkk - 2009 - Philosophical Psychology 22 (1):37 – 60.
    Some experimental studies have recently claimed to undermine semantic externalism about natural kind terms. However, it is unclear how philosophical accounts of reference can be experimentally tested. We present two externalistic adaptations of psychological placeholder essentialism, a strict externalist and a hybrid externalist view, which are experimentally testable. We examine Braisby, Franks, and Hampton's (1996) study which claims to undermine externalism, and argue that the study fails in its aims. We conducted two experiments, the results of which undermine internalism and (...)
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  14. added 2016-12-08
    Theories of Natural Kind Term Reference and Empirical Psychology.Jussi Wiljami Jylkkä - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 139 (2):153-169.
    In this paper, I argue that the causal and description theories of natural kind term reference involve certain psychological elements. My main goal is to refine these theories with the help of empirical psychology of concepts, and to argue that the refinement process ultimately leads to the dissolution of boundaries between the two kinds of theories. However, neither the refined theories nor any other existing theories provide an adequate answer to the question of what makes natural kind terms rigid. To (...)
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  15. added 2016-11-24
    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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  16. added 2015-11-30
    Why Essences Are Essential in the Psychology of Concepts.Woo-Kyoung Ahn, Charles Kalish, Susan A. Gelman, Douglas L. Medin, Christian Luhmann, Scott Atran, John D. Coley & Patrick Shafto - 2001 - Cognition 82 (1):59-69.
  17. added 2015-11-30
    Essentialism, Word Use, and Concepts.Nick Braisby, Bradley Franks & James Hampton - 1996 - Cognition 59 (3):247-274.
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  18. added 2015-09-08
    Only Causation Matters: Reply to Ahn Et Al.Michael Strevens - 2001 - Cognition 82 (1):71-76.
    This paper is a reply to a discussion of my paper The Essentialist Aspect of Naive Theories by Ahn, Kalish, Gelman, Medin, Luhmann, Atran, Coley and Shafto; both the discussion and my reply appeared in the November 2001 issue of Cognition.
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  19. added 2014-03-31
    The Current Status of Research on Concept Combination.Lance J. Rips - 1995 - Mind and Language 10 (1-2):72-104.
  20. added 2014-03-31
    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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  21. added 2014-03-31
    The Significance of the Theory Analogy in the Psychological Study of Concepts.Eric Margolis - 1995 - Mind and Language 10 (1-2):45-71.
    Many psychologists think that concepts should be understood on analogy with the terms of scientific theories, yet the significance of this claim has always been obscure. In this paper, I clarify the psychological content of the theory analogy, focusing on influential pieces by Susan Carey. Once plainly put, the analogy amounts to the view that a mental representation has its semantic properties by virtue of its role in a restricted knowledge structure. One of the commendable things about Carey's work is (...)
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  22. added 2014-03-28
    What is Conceptual Glue?Eric Margolis - 1999 - Minds and Machines 9 (2):241-255.
    Conceptual structures are commonly likened to scientific theories, yet the content and motivation of the theory analogy are rarely discussed. Gregory Murphy and Douglas Medin's The Role of Theories in Conceptual Coherence is a notable exception and has become an authoritative exposition of the utility of the theory analogy. For Murphy and Medin, the theory analogy solves what they call the problem of conceptual coherence or the problem of conceptual glue. I argue that they conflate a number of issues under (...)
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  23. added 2014-03-26
    The Essentialist Aspect of Naive Theories.Michael Strevens - 2000 - Cognition 74 (149):175.
    Recent work on children’s inferences concerning biological and chemical categories has suggested that children (and perhaps adults) are essentialists— a view known as psychological essentialism. I distinguish three varieties of psychological essentialism and investigate the ways in which essentialism explains the inferences for which it is supposed to account. Essentialism succeeds in explaining the inferences, I argue, because it attributes to the child belief in causal laws connecting category membership and the possession of certain characteristic appearances and behavior. This suggests (...)
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  24. added 2014-03-19
    Why Concepts Can't Be Theories.Jack M. C. Kwong - 2006 - Philosophical Explorations 9 (3):309-325.
    In this paper, I present an alternative argument for Jerry Fodor's recent conclusion that there are currently no tenable theories of concepts in the cognitive sciences and in the philosophy of mind. Briefly, my approach focuses on the 'theory-theory' of concepts. I argue that the two ways in which cognitive psychologists have formulated this theory lead to serious difficulties, and that there cannot be, in principle, a third way in which it can be reformulated. Insofar as the 'theory-theory' is supposed (...)
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  25. added 2014-03-16
    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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  26. added 2014-03-16
    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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  27. added 2014-03-10
    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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  28. added 2014-03-09
    Furnishing the Mind: Concepts and Their Perceptual Basis.Jesse J. Prinz - 2002 - MIT Press.
  29. added 2014-03-06
    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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  30. added 2013-02-11
    Inferences About Members of Kinds: The Generics Hypothesis.Sangeet Khemlani, Sarah-Jane Leslie & Sam Glucksberg - 2012 - Language and Cognitive Processes 27:887-900.
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  31. added 2012-02-20
    The Myth of the Final Criterion.Michael Strevens - manuscript
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  32. added 2012-02-19
    Concepts and Reference: Defending a Dual Theory of Natural Kind Concepts.Jussi Jylkkä - 2008 - Dissertation, University of Turku
    In this thesis I argue that the psychological study of concepts and categorisation, and the philosophical study of reference are deeply intertwined. I propose that semantic intuitions are a variety of categorisation judgements, determined by concepts, and that because of this, concepts determine reference. I defend a dual theory of natural kind concepts, according to which natural kind concepts have distinct semantic cores and non-semantic identification procedures. Drawing on psychological essentialism, I suggest that the cores consist of externalistic placeholder essence (...)
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  33. added 2012-02-19
    Homology in Comparative, Molecular, and Evolutionary Developmental Biology: The Radiation of a Concept.Ingo Brigandt - 2003 - Journal of Experimental Zoology (Molecular and Developmental Evolution) 299:9-17.
    The present paper analyzes the use and understanding of the homology concept across different biological disciplines. It is argued that in its history, the homology concept underwent a sort of adaptive radiation. Once it migrated from comparative anatomy into new biological fields, the homology concept changed in accordance with the theoretical aims and interests of these disciplines. The paper gives a case study of the theoretical role that homology plays in comparative and evolutionary biology, in molecular biology, and in evolutionary (...)
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  34. added 2012-02-19
    Concepts Are Beliefs About Essences.Ulrike Haas-Spohn & Wolfgang Spohn - 2001 - In R. Stuhlmann-Laeisz, Albert Newen & Ulrich Nortmann (eds.), Proceedings of an International Symposium. Stanford, CSLI Publications.
    Putnam (1975) and Burge (1979) have made a convincing case that neither mea- nings nor beliefs are in the head. Most philosophers, it seems, have accepted their argument. Putnam explained that a subject.
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  35. added 2012-02-19
    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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  36. added 2012-02-19
    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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  37. added 2012-02-19
    Etiological Classification and the Acquisition and Structure of Knowledge.Michael T. Ghiselin - 1998 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1):72-73.
    Millikan's account of how we acquire our most basic concepts might be clarified by a better ontological taxonomy, especially one that distinguishes between natural kinds on the one hand and wholes composed of parts on the other. The two have a different causal basis, which is important because once classification goes beyond the stage of naive induction, it becomes fundamentally etiological.
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  38. added 2012-02-19
    Whose Concepts Are They, Anyway? The Role of Philosophical Intuition in Empirical Psychology.Alison Gopnik & Eric Schwitzgebel - 1998 - In M. R. DePaul & William Ramsey (eds.), Rethinking Intuition. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield. pp. 75--91.
    This chapter examines several ways in which philosophical attention to intuition can contribute to empirical scientific psychology. The authors then discuss one prevalent misuse of intuition. An unspoken assumption of much argumentation in the philosophy of mind has been that to articulate our folk psychological intuitions, our ordinary concepts of belief, truth, meaning, and so forth, is itself sufficient to give a theoretical account of what belief, truth, meaning, and so forth, actually are. It is believed that this assumption rests (...)
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  39. added 2012-02-19
    Spiders in the Web of Belief: The Tangled Relations Between Concepts and Theories.Frank C. Keil - 1989 - Mind and Language 4 (1-2):43-50.
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  40. added 2012-02-19
    Concepts and Conceptual Development.U. Neisser (ed.) - 1981 - Cambridge University Press.
    Concepts and Conceptual Development draws together theorists from a wide range of theoretical orientations to consider many different aspects of 'the psychology ...
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  41. added 2012-02-19
    Concepts as Involving Laws and Inconceivable Without Them.Wilfrid Sellars - 1948 - Philosophy of Science 15 (October):287-313.
  42. added 2011-04-04
    Basic Conceptual Domains.Scott Atran - 1989 - Mind and Language 4 (1-2):7-16.
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  43. added 2011-04-04
    Concepts and Conceptual Structure.D. L. Medin - 1989 - American Psychologist 44:1469-81.
  44. added 2011-02-21
    The Plurality of Concepts.Daniel Aaron Weiskopf - 2008 - 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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  45. added 2009-04-07
    Conceptual Role Semantics, the Theory Theory, and Conceptual Change.Ingo Brigandt - 2004 - In Proceedings First Joint Conference of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology and the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology, Barcelona, Spain. Murcia: Universidad de Murcia. pp. 30–34.
    The purpose of the paper is twofold. I first outline a philosophical theory of concepts based on conceptual role semantics. This approach is explicitly intended as a framework for the study and explanation of conceptual change in science. Then I point to the close similarities between this philosophical framework and the theory theory of concepts, suggesting that a convergence between psychological and philosophical approaches to concepts is possible. An underlying theme is to stress that using a non-atomist account of concepts (...)
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