Le véritable retour des définitions

Dialogue 50 (1):153-164 (2011)
Pierre Poirier
Université du Québec à Montréal
Guillaume Beaulac
Carleton University
In our critical review of Doing without Concepts, we argue that although the heterogeneity hypothesis (according to which exemplars, prototypes and theories are natural kinds that should replace ‘concept’) may end fruitless debates in the psychology of concepts, Edouard Machery did not anticipate one consequence of his suggestion: Definitions now acquire a new status as another one of the bodies of information replacing ‘concept’. In order to support our hypothesis, we invoke dual-process models to suggest that prototypes, exemplars and theories are ‘Type 1’ concepts (automatic, implicit) and definitions ‘Type 2’ concepts (controlled, explicit). In the context of this argument, we suggest that one must better distinguish between Type 1 theories (e.g., Bayesian causal nets) and Type 2 theories (e.g., scientific) that explicitly control definitions.
Keywords Concepts  Philosophy of cognitive science  Philosophy of psychology  Philosophy of mind
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DOI 10.1017/S0012217311000163
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