Meaning, prototypes and the future of cognitive science

Minds and Machines 1 (3):233-257 (1991)
  Copy   BIBTEX


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 two assumptions that dominate cognitive science: (1) If human beings use words they mean something particular and what they mean can be discovered by scientific methods. (2) There is a fixed number of domains of categorization, each made up of a fixed number of basic categories. I suggest that these two assumptions lead to Brave New World.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 89,764

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Meaning and Content in Cognitive Science.Robert Cummins & Martin Roth - 2012 - In Richard Schantz (ed.), Prospects for Meaning. de Gruyter. pp. 365-382.
Psychology in Cognitive Science: 1978–2038.Dedre Gentner - 2010 - Topics in Cognitive Science 2 (3):328-344.
Lexical misunderstandings and prototype theory.Rebecca Clift - 1998 - AI and Society 12 (3):109-133.
Theoretische lücken der cognitive science.Winfried D'Avis - 1998 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 29 (1):37-57.
Cognitive Science, Naturalism, and Divine Prototypes.Vance G. Morgan - 1998 - Philosophy and Theology 11 (1):25-46.
Cognitive Anthropology Is a Cognitive Science.James S. Boster - 2012 - Topics in Cognitive Science 4 (3):372-378.
Is Cognition Enough to Explain Cognitive Development?Linda B. Smith & Adam Sheya - 2010 - Topics in Cognitive Science 2 (4):725-735.
Cognitive Anthropologists: Who Needs Them?Annelie Rothe - 2012 - Topics in Cognitive Science 4 (3):387-395.


Added to PP

45 (#307,672)

6 months
2 (#652,025)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

The ignis fatuus of semantic universalia: The case of colour.J. van Brakel - 1994 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 45 (2):770-783.

Add more citations