What is conceptual glue?

Minds and Machines 9 (2):241-255 (1999)
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 these rubrics and that in each case either the problem to be solved isn't subject to a general solution or the theory analogy is of little use. The issues I consider are: (1) what makes a concept efficient, useful, and informative, (2) what makes a concept refer to what it does, (3) what makes a set of objects form a single category, and (4) what makes concepts combine in one way rather than another
Keywords Category  Coherence  Concept  Mental  Science  Medin, D  Murphy, G
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DOI 10.1023/A:1008358032215
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