Conceiving without Concepts: Reid vs. The Way of Ideas

ProtoSociology 30:221-237 (2013)
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Abstract

Thomas Reid is notorious for rejecting the orthodox theory of conception (OTC), according to which conceiving of an object involves a mental relationship to an idea of that object. In this paper, I examine the question of what this rejection amounts to, when we limit our attention to bare conception (rather than the more widely discussed case of perception). I present some of the purported advantages of OTC, and assess whether they provide a genuine basis for preferring OTC to a Reidian alternative. I argue that Reid’s approach is no worse off than OTC at explaining intentionality of our conceptions, and suggest that OTC diverges less from Reid’s view than it would at first seem.

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Author's Profile

Lewis Powell
State University of New York, Buffalo

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References found in this work

Concepts: Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong.Jerry A. Fodor - 1998 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man.Thomas Reid - 1785 - University Park, Pa.: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Derek R. Brookes & Knud Haakonssen.
Cognition and commitment in Hume's philosophy.Don Garrett - 1997 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Theory of knowledge: the 1913 manuscript.Bertrand Russell - 1984 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Elizabeth Ramsden Eames & Kenneth Blackwell.
Cognition and Commitment in Hume’s Philosophy.Don Garrett - 1997 - Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 62 (1):191-196.

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