Putting thoughts to work: Concepts, systematicity, and stimulus-independence

Abstract
I argue that we can reconcile two seemingly incompatible traditions for thinking about concepts. On the one hand, many cognitive scientists assume that the systematic redeployment of representational abilities suffices for having concepts. On the other hand, a long philosophical tradition maintains that language is necessary for genuinely conceptual thought. I argue that on a theoretically useful and empirically plausible concept of 'concept', it is necessary and sufficient for conceptual thought that a thinker be able to entertain many of the potential thoughts produced by recombining her representational abilities apart from a direct confrontation with the states of affairs being represented. Such representational abilities support a cognitive engagement with the world that is flexible, abstract, and active
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  Philosophy of Mind
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ISBN(s) 0031-8205
DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2009.00245.x
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References found in this work BETA
Mind and World.John McDowell - 1994 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA
Origins of Meaning: Must We 'Go Gricean'?Dorit Bar-on - 2013 - Mind and Language 28 (3):342-375.
Thinking with Maps.Elisabeth Camp - 2007 - Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):145–182.
Deciding as Intentional Action: Control Over Decisions.Joshua Shepherd - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (2):335-351.
Thinking in Words: Language as an Embodied Medium of Thought.Guy Dove - 2014 - Topics in Cognitive Science 6 (3):371-389.
Do Animals Engage in Conceptual Thought?Jacob Beck - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (3):218-229.

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