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The plurality of concepts

Synthese 169 (1):145-173 (2009)

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  1. Explanatory Pluralism in Cognitive Science.Rick Dale, Eric Dietrich & Anthony Chemero - 2009 - Cognitive Science 33 (2):739-742.
    This brief commentary has three goals. The first is to argue that ‘‘framework debate’’ in cognitive science is unresolvable. The idea that one theory or framework can singly account for the vast complexity and variety of cognitive processes seems unlikely if not impossible. The second goal is a consequence of this: We should consider how the various theories on offer work together in diverse contexts of investigation. A final goal is to supply a brief review for readers who are compelled (...)
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  • Chomskyan Arguments Against Truth-Conditional Semantics Based on Variability and Co-Predication.Agustín Vicente - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-22.
    In this paper I try to show that semantics can explain word-to-world relations and that sentences can have meanings that determine truth-conditions. Critics like Chomsky typically maintain that only speakers denote, i.e., only speakers, by using words in one way or another, represent entities or events in the world. However, according to their view, individual acts of denotations are not explained just by virtue of speakers' semantic knowledge (since, according to them, semantic knowledge is very scarce: see Pietroski, 2018). Against (...)
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  • The Shifting Border Between Perception and Cognition.Ben Phillips - 2019 - Noûs 53 (2):316-346.
    The distinction between perception and cognition has always had a firm footing in both cognitive science and folk psychology. However, there is little agreement as to how the distinction should be drawn. In fact, a number of theorists have recently argued that, given the ubiquity of top-down influences, we should jettison the distinction altogether. I reject this approach, and defend a pluralist account of the distinction. At the heart of my account is the claim that each legitimate way of marking (...)
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  • Conceptual Fragmentation and the Rise of Eliminativism.Henry Taylor & Peter Vickers - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (1):17-40.
    Pluralist and eliminativist positions have proliferated within both science and philosophy of science in recent decades. This paper asks the question why this shift of thinking has occurred, and where it is leading us. We provide an explanation which, if correct, entails that we should expect pluralism and eliminativism to transform other debates currently unaffected, and for good reasons. We then consider the question under what circumstances eliminativism will be appropriate, arguing that it depends not only on the term in (...)
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  • Arguments From Developmental Order.Richard Stöckle-Schobel - 2016 - Frontiers in Psychology 7.
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  • Language, Mind, and Cognitive Science: Remarks on Theories of the Language-Cognition Relationships in Human Minds.Guillaume Beaulac - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Western Ontario
    My dissertation establishes the basis for a systematic outlook on the role language plays in human cognition. It is an investigation based on a cognitive conception of language, as opposed to communicative conceptions, viz. those that suppose that language plays no role in cognition. I focus, in Chapter 2, on three paradigmatic theories adopting this perspective, each offering different views on how language contributes to or changes cognition. -/- In Chapter 3, I criticize current views held by dual-process theorists, and (...)
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  • Neurophilosophy of Number.Hourya Benis Sinaceur - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (1):1-25.
    Neurosciences and cognitive sciences provide us with myriad empirical findings that shed light on hypothesised primitive numerical processes in the brain and in the mind. Yet, the hypotheses on which the experiments are based, and hence the results, depend strongly on sophisticated abstract models used to describe and explain neural data or cognitive representations that supposedly are the empirical roots of primary arithmetical activity. I will question the foundational role of such models. I will even cast doubt upon the search (...)
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  • Psychopathy and Internalism.Victor Kumar - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (3):318-345.
    Do psychopaths make moral judgments but lack motivation? Or are psychopaths’ judgments are not genuinely moral? Both sides of this debate seem to assume either externalist or internalist criteria for the presence of moral judgment. However, if moral judgment is a natural kind, we can arrive at a theory-neutral criterion for moral judgment. A leading naturalistic criterion suggests that psychopaths have an impaired capacity for moral judgment; the capacity is neither fully present nor fully absent. Psychopaths are therefore not counterexamples (...)
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  • Bridging the Gap Between Similarity and Causality: An Integrated Approach to Concepts.Corinne L. Bloch-Mullins - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (3):605-632.
    A growing consensus in the philosophy and psychology of concepts is that while theories such as the prototype, exemplar, and theory theories successfully account for some instances of concept formation and application, none of them successfully accounts for all such instances. I argue against this ‘new consensus’ and show that the problem is, in fact, more severe: the explanatory force of each of these theories is limited even with respect to the phenomena often cited to support it, as each fails (...)
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  • 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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  • What Levels of Explanation in the Behavioural Sciences?Giuseppe Boccignone & Roberto Cordeschi (eds.) - 2015 - Frontiers Media SA.
    Complex systems are to be seen as typically having multiple levels of organization. For instance, in the behavioural and cognitive sciences, there has been a long lasting trend, promoted by the seminal work of David Marr, putting focus on three distinct levels of analysis: the computational level, accounting for the What and Why issues, the algorithmic and the implementational levels specifying the How problem. However, the tremendous developments in neuroscience knowledge about processes at different scales of organization together with the (...)
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  • Two Kinds of Concept: Implicit and Explicit.Gualtiero Piccinini - 2011 - Dialogue 50 (1):179-193.
  • The Theoretical Indispensability of Concepts.Daniel A. Weiskopf - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):228 - 229.
    Machery denies the traditional view that concepts are constituents of thoughts, and he more provocatively argues that concepts should be eliminated from our best psychological taxonomy. I argue that the constituency view has much to recommend it (and is presupposed by much of his own theory), and that the evidence gives us grounds for pluralism, rather than eliminativism, about concepts.
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  • Evidence of Coordination as a Cure for Concept Eliminativism.Andrea Scarantino - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):223-224.
    I argue that Machery stacks the deck against hybrid theories of concepts by relying on an unduly restrictive understanding of coordination between concept parts. Once a less restrictive notion of coordination is introduced, the empirical case for hybrid theories of concepts becomes stronger, and the appeal of concept eliminativism weaker.
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  • 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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  • Précis de Doing Without Concepts.Édouard Machery - 2011 - Dialogue 50 (1):141-152.
  • Emotions, Concepts and the Indeterminacy of Natural Kinds.Henry Taylor - forthcoming - Synthese.
    A central question for philosophical psychology is which mental faculties form natural kinds. There is hot debate over the kind status of faculties as diverse as consciousness, seeing, concepts, emotions, constancy and the senses. In this paper, I take emotions and concepts as my main focus, and argue that questions over the kind status of these faculties are complicated by the undeservedly overlooked fact that natural kinds are indeterminate in certain ways. I will show that indeterminacy issues have led to (...)
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  • Criterial Problems in Creative Cognition Research.Melvin Chen - 2018 - Philosophical Psychology 31 (3):368-382.
    In creative cognition research, the Romantic view about creative cognition is traditionally rejected in favor of the modern view. The modern view about creative cognition maintains that creativity is neither mysterious nor unintelligible and that it is indeed susceptible to analysis. The paradigmatic objects of analysis in creative cognition research have been creative output and the creative process. The degree of creativity of an output is assessed in accordance with certain criterial definitions. The degree of creativity of a cognitive process (...)
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  • Conceptual and Linguistic Representations of Kinds and Classes.Sandeep Prasada, Laura Hennefield & Daniel Otap - 2012 - Cognitive Science 36 (7):1224-1250.
    We investigate the hypothesis that our conceptual systems provide two formally distinct ways of representing categories by investigating the manner in which lexical nominals (e.g., tree, picnic table) and phrasal nominals (e.g., black bird, birds that like rice) are interpreted. Four experiments found that lexical nominals may be mapped onto kind representations, whereas phrasal nominals map onto class representations but not kind representations. Experiment 1 found that phrasal nominals, unlike lexical nominals, are mapped onto categories whose members need not be (...)
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  • Arguments Over Intuitions?Tomasz Wysocki - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-23.
    Deutsch 2010 claims that hypothetical scenarios are evaluated using arguments, not intuitions, and therefore experiments on intuitions are philosophically inconsequential. Using the Gettier case as an example, he identifies three arguments that are supposed to point to the right response to the case. In the paper, I present the results of studies ran on Polish, Indian, Spanish, and American participants that suggest that there’s no deep difference between evaluating the Gettier case with intuitions and evaluating it with Deutsch’s arguments. Specifically, (...)
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  • Concepts as Semantic Pointers: A Framework and Computational Model.Peter Blouw, Eugene Solodkin, Paul Thagard & Chris Eliasmith - 2016 - Cognitive Science 40 (5):1128-1162.
    The reconciliation of theories of concepts based on prototypes, exemplars, and theory-like structures is a longstanding problem in cognitive science. In response to this problem, researchers have recently tended to adopt either hybrid theories that combine various kinds of representational structure, or eliminative theories that replace concepts with a more finely grained taxonomy of mental representations. In this paper, we describe an alternative approach involving a single class of mental representations called “semantic pointers.” Semantic pointers are symbol-like representations that result (...)
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  • Against Unifying Accounts of Attention.J. Henry Taylor - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (1):39-56.
    There have recently been a number of attempts to put forth a philosophical account of the nature of attention. Many such theories aim at giving necessary and sufficient conditions for something to be attention. In this paper I will argue that any such theory must meet two criteria. Then I shall examine four prominent accounts of attention in some detail, and argue that all of them face problems meeting one or the other of the criteria. I propose an alternative view, (...)
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  • Concepts as Pluralistic Hybrids.Collin Rice - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (3):597-619.
    In contrast to earlier views that argued for a particular kind of concept, several recent accounts have proposed that there are multiple distinct kinds of concepts, or that there is a plurality of concepts for each category. In this paper, I argue for a novel account of concepts as pluralistic hybrids. According to this view, concepts are pluralistic because there are several concepts for the same category whose use is heavily determined by context. In addition, concepts are hybrids because they (...)
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  • Replies to My Critics. [REVIEW]Edouard Machery - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 149 (3):429 - 436.
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  • Transitional Gradation in the Mind: Rethinking Psychological Kindhood.Cameron Buckner - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (4):1091-1115.
    I here critique the application of the traditional, similarity-based account of natural kinds to debates in psychology. A challenge to such accounts of kindhood—familiar from the study of biological species—is a metaphysical phenomenon that I call ‘transitional gradation’: the systematic progression of slightly modified transitional forms between related candidate kinds. Where such gradation proliferates, it renders the selection of similarity criteria for kinds arbitrary. Reflection on general features of learning—especially on the gradual revision of concepts throughout the acquisition of expertise—shows (...)
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  • Higher-Level Concepts and Their Heterogeneous Implementations: A Polemical Review of Edouard Machery's Doing Without Concepts.Kevan Edwards - 2011 - Philosophical Psychology 24 (1):119-133.
    Doing Without Concepts Edouard Machery New York: Oxford University Press, 2009 296 pages, ISBN: 0195306880 (hbk); $65.00 This paper offers a critical review of Edouard Machery's Doing Without Concepts, with a particular emphasis on an approach to concept individuation that is consistent with many of Machery's arguments but has the potential to avoid his eliminativist conclusion. The approach agrees with Machery's claims to the effect that prototypes, exemplars, theories (and so on) form a heterogeneous class, but construes these theoretical entities (...)
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  • An Efficient Coding Approach to the Debate on Grounded Cognition.Abel Wajnerman Paz - 2018 - Synthese 195 (12):5245-5269.
    The debate between the amodal and the grounded views of cognition seems to be stuck. Their only substantial disagreement is about the vehicle or format of concepts. Amodal theorists reject the grounded claim that concepts are couched in the same modality-specific format as representations in sensory systems. The problem is that there is no clear characterization of format or its neural correlate. In order to make the disagreement empirically meaningful and move forward in the discussion we need a neurocognitive criterion (...)
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  • On the Distinction Between Semantic and Conceptual Representation.Fernando Martínez-Manrique - 2010 - Dialectica 64 (1):57-78.
    I address the problem of the distinction between semantic and conceptual representations from general considerations about how to distinguish a representational kind. I consider three different ways of telling representational kinds apart – in terms of structure, processing and content – and I examine if semantic representations may constitute a distinct kind with respect to each of them. I argue that the best options for semantic representation to be regarded as a distinct representational kind with respect to each of the (...)
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  • 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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  • Foundational Questions About Concepts: Context‐Sensitivity and Embodiment.Corinne L. Bloch‐Mullins - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (12):940-952.
    This review discusses recent work on foundational questions about concepts. The first of these questions is whether concepts are context-independent bodies of knowledge, or context-dependent constructs, created on the fly. The second question is whether concepts are abstract, amodal representations, or whether they are embedded within the sensory-motor system. I discuss these two questions in light of empirical data from psychology and neuroscience, as well as theoretical considerations, and examine their implications for theories of concepts.
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  • Dual Character Concepts and the Normative Dimension of Conceptual Representation.Joshua Knobe, Sandeep Prasada & George E. Newman - 2013 - Cognition 127 (2):242-257.
    Five experiments provide evidence for a class of ‘dual character concepts.’ Dual character concepts characterize their members in terms of both (a) a set of concrete features and (b) the abstract values that these features serve to realize. As such, these concepts provide two bases for evaluating category members and two different criteria for category membership. Experiment 1 provides support for the notion that dual character concepts have two bases for evaluation. Experiments 2-4 explore the claim that dual character concepts (...)
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  • Arguments Over Intuitions?Tomasz Wysocki - 2017 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8 (2):477-499.
    Deutsch 2010 claims that hypothetical scenarios are evaluated using arguments, not intuitions, and therefore experiments on intuitions are philosophically inconsequential. Using the Gettier case as an example, he identifies three arguments that are supposed to point to the right response to the case. In the paper, I present the results of studies ran on Polish, Indian, Spanish, and American participants that suggest that there’s no deep difference between evaluating the Gettier case with intuitions and evaluating it with Deutsch’s arguments. Specifically, (...)
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  • Dual Character Concepts.Kevin Reuter - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (1):e12557.
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  • The Big Concepts Paper: A Defence of Hybridism.Agustín Vicente & Fernando Martínez Manrique - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (1):59-88.
    The renewed interest in concepts and their role in psychological theorizing is partially motivated by Machery’s claim that concepts are so heterogeneous that they have no explanatory role. Against this, pluralism argues that there is multiplicity of different concepts for any given category, while hybridism argues that a concept is constituted by a rich common representation. This article aims to advance the understanding of the hybrid view of concepts. First, we examine the main arguments against hybrid concepts and conclude that, (...)
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  • Précis of Doing Without Concepts.Edouard Machery - 2010 - Mind and Language 25 (5):602-611.
  • Factive Scientific Understanding Without Accurate Representation.Collin C. Rice - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (1):81-102.
    This paper analyzes two ways idealized biological models produce factive scientific understanding. I then argue that models can provide factive scientific understanding of a phenomenon without providing an accurate representation of the features of their real-world target system. My analysis of these cases also suggests that the debate over scientific realism needs to investigate the factive scientific understanding produced by scientists’ use of idealized models rather than the accuracy of scientific models themselves.
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  • Moral Judgment as a Natural Kind.Victor Kumar - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (11):2887-2910.
    In this essay I argue that moral judgment is a natural kind by developing an empirically grounded theory of the distinctive conceptual content of moral judgments. Psychological research on the moral/conventional distinction suggests that in moral judgments right and wrong, good and bad, praiseworthiness and blameworthiness, etc. are conceptualized as serious, general, authority-independent, and objective. After laying out the theory and the empirical evidence that supports it, I address recent empirical and conceptual objections. Finally, I suggest that the theory uniquely (...)
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  • 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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  • On the Distinction Between Semantic and Conceptual Representation.Fernando Martínez-Manrique - 2010 - Dialectica 64 (1):57-78.
    I address the problem of the distinction between semantic and conceptual representations from general considerations about how to distinguish a representational kind. I consider three different ways of telling representational kinds apart – in terms of structure, processing and content – and I examine if semantic representations may constitute a distinct kind with respect to each of them. I argue that the best options for semantic representation to be regarded as a distinct representational kind with respect to each of the (...)
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