This now-classic work challenges what Ryle calls philosophy's "official theory," the Cartesians "myth" of the separation of mind and matter. Ryle's linguistic analysis remaps the conceptual geography of mind, not so much solving traditional philosophical problems as dissolving them into the mere consequences of misguided language. His plain language and esstentially simple purpose place him in the traditioin of Locke, Berkeley, Mill, and Russell.
The renowned philosopher Jerry Fodor, a leading figure in the study of the mind for more than twenty years, presents a strikingly original theory on the basic constituents of thought. He suggests that the heart of cognitive science is its theory of concepts, and that cognitive scientists have gone badly wrong in many areas because their assumptions about concepts have been mistaken. Fodor argues compellingly for an atomistic theory of concepts, deals out witty and pugnacious demolitions of (...) rival theories, and suggests that future work on human cognition should build upon new foundations. This lively, conversational, and superbly accessible book is the first volume in the Oxford Cognitive Science Series, where the best original work in this field will be presented to a broad readership. Concepts will fascinate anyone interested in contemporary work on mind and language. Cognitive science will never be the same again. (shrink)
We analyze different aspects of our quantum modeling approach of human concepts and, more specifically, focus on the quantum effects of contextuality, interference, entanglement, and emergence, illustrating how each of them makes its appearance in specific situations of the dynamics of human concepts and their combinations. We point out the relation of our approach, which is based on an ontology of a concept as an entity in a state changing under influence of a context, with the main traditional (...) concept theories, that is, prototype theory, exemplar theory, and theory theory. We ponder about the question why quantum theory performs so well in its modeling of human concepts, and we shed light on this question by analyzing the role of complex amplitudes, showing how they allow to describe interference in the statistics of measurement outcomes, while in the traditional theories statistics of outcomes originates in classical probability weights, without the possibility of interference. The relevance of complex numbers, the appearance of entanglement, and the role of Fock space in explaining contextual emergence, all as unique features of the quantum modeling, are explicitly revealed in this article by analyzing human concepts and their dynamics. (shrink)
The Concept of Law is the most important and original work of legal philosophy written this century. First published in 1961, it is considered the masterpiece of H.L.A. Hart's enormous contribution to the study of jurisprudence and legal philosophy. Its elegant language and balanced arguments have sparked wide debate and unprecedented growth in the quantity and quality of scholarship in this area--much of it devoted to attacking or defending Hart's theories. Principal among Hart's critics is renowned lawyer and political philosopher (...) Ronald Dworkin who in the 1970s and 80s mounted a series of challenges to Hart's Concept of Law. It seemed that Hart let these challenges go unanswered until, after his death in 1992, his answer to Dworkin's criticism was discovered among his papers. In this valuable and long-awaited new edition Hart presents an Epilogue in which he answers Dworkin and some of his other most influential critics including Fuller and Finnis. Written with the same clarity and candor for which the first edition is famous, the Epilogue offers a sharper interpretation of Hart's own views, rebuffs the arguments of critics like Dworkin, and powerfully asserts that they have based their criticisms on a faulty understanding of Hart's work. Hart demonstrates that Dworkin's views are in fact strikingly similar to his own. In a final analysis, Hart's response leaves Dworkin's criticisms considerably weakened and his positions largely in question. Containing Hart's final and powerful response to Dworkin in addition to the revised text of the original Concept of Law, this thought-provoking and persuasively argued volume is essential reading for lawyers and philosophers throughout the world. (shrink)
Much of the material found herein originally appeared in The concept of matter, edited by E. McMullin, which consisted of rev. papers from a conference held at the University of Notre Dame, Sept. 5-9, 1961. Includes bibliographical references and index.
Concepts: Core Readings traces the develoment of one of the most active areas of investigation in cognitive science. This comprehensive volume brings together the essential background readings on concepts from philosophy, psychology, and linguistics, while providing a broad sampling of contemporary research. The first part of the book centers around the fall of the Classical Theory of Concepts in the face of attacks by W.V.O. Quine, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Eleanor Rosch, and others, emphasizing the emergence and development of (...) the Prototype Theory and the controversies it spurred. The second part surveys a broad range of contemporary theories—Neoclassical Theories, the Prototype Theory, the Theory-Theory, and Conceptual Atomism. (shrink)
The Concept of Law is one of the most influential texts in English-language jurisprudence. 50 years after its first publication its relevance has not diminished and in this third edition, Leslie Green adds an introduction that places the book in a contemporary context, highlighting key questions about Hart's arguments and outlining the main debates it has prompted in the field. The complete text of the second edition is replicated here, including Hart's Postscript, with fully updated notes to include modern references (...) and further reading. (shrink)
Sets are central to mathematics and its foundations, but what are they? In this book Luca Incurvati provides a detailed examination of all the major conceptions of set and discusses their virtues and shortcomings, as well as introducing the fundamentals of the alternative set theories with which these conceptions are associated. He shows that the conceptual landscape includes not only the naïve and iterative conceptions but also the limitation of size conception, the definite conception, the stratified conception and the graph (...) conception. In addition, he presents a novel, minimalist account of the iterative conception which does not require the existence of a relation of metaphysical dependence between a set and its members. His book will be of interest to researchers and advanced students in logic and the philosophy of mathematics. (shrink)
Given the fundamental role that concepts play in theories of cognition, philosophers and cognitive scientists have a common interest in concepts. Nonetheless, there is a great deal of controversy regarding what kinds of things concepts are, how they are structured, and how they are acquired. This chapter offers a detailed high-level overview and critical evaluation of the main theories of concepts and their motivations. Taking into account the various challenges that each theory faces, the chapter also (...) presents a novel approach to concepts that is organized around two ideas. The first is a pluralistic view of differing types of conceptual structure. The second is a model that treats concepts as atomic representations that are linked to various types of conceptual structures. (shrink)
This volume makes available in English for the first time Adorno’s lectures on metaphysics. It provides a unique introduction not only to metaphysics but also to Adorno’s own intellectual standpoint, as developed in his major work Negative Dialectics. Metaphysics for Adorno is defined by a central tension between concepts and immediate facts. Adorno traces this dualism back to Aristotle, whom he sees as the founder of metaphysics. In Aristotle it appears as an unresolved tension between form and matter. This (...) basic split, in Adorno’s interpretation, runs right through the history of metaphysics. Perhaps not surprisingly, Adorno finds this tension resolved in the Hegelian dialectic. Underlying this dualism is a further dichotomy, which Adorno sees as essential to metaphysics: while it dissolves belief in transcendental worlds by thought, at the same time it seeks to rescue belief in a reality beyond the empirical, again by thought. It is to this profound ambiguity, for Adorno, that the metaphysical tradition owes its greatness. The major part of these lectures, given by Adorno late in his life, is devoted to a critical exposition of Aristotle’s thought, focusing on its central ambiguities. In the last lectures, Adorno’s attention switches to the question of the relevance of metaphysics today, particularly after the Holocaust. He finds in metaphysical experiences, which transcend rational discourse without lapsing into irrationalism, a last precarious refuge of the humane truth to which his own thought always aspired. This volume will be essential reading for anyone interested in Adorno’s work and will be a valuable text for students and scholars of philosophy and social theory. (shrink)
Though causality seems to have a natural place in chemical thought, the analysis of the underlying causal concepts requires attention to two different research styles. In Part One I attempt a classification and critical analysis of several philosophical accounts of causal concepts which appear to be very diverse. I summarize this diversity which ranges from causality as displayed in regular concomitances of types of events to causality as the activity of agents. Part Two is concerned with the analysis (...) of contrasting chemical discourses, comparing the classical atomist style of Boyle, and Lavoisier and von Liebig with the later energeticist style of van’t Hoff and Hinshelwood. In detail different clusters of causal concepts can be abstracted from these discursive styles, yet they all approximate the Realist format for causal discourse. By way of summary I make an attempt to map the vernacular distinctions of Part Two onto the philosophical territory of Part One. The argument is rounded off with a brief analysis of a chemical publication of 2008. (shrink)
The principal aim of this book is to develop and defend an analysis of the concept of moral obligation. The analysis is neutral regarding competing substantive theories of obligation, whether consequentialist or deontological in character. What it seeks to do is generate solutions to a range of philosophical problems concerning obligation and its application. Amongst these problems are deontic paradoxes, the supersession of obligation, conditional obligation, prima facie obligation, actualism and possibilism, dilemmas, supererogation, and cooperation. By virtue of its normative (...) neutrality, the analysis provides a theoretical framework within which competing theories of obligation can be developed and assessed. This study is a major contribution to metaethics that will be of particular interest to all philosophers concerned with normative ethical theory. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Al Mele (2003) suggests that the Simple View of intentional action is “fiction” because it is “wholly unconstrained” by a widely shared (folk) concept of intentional action. The Simple View (Adams, 1986, McCann, 1986) states that an action is intentional only if intended. As evidence that the Simple View is not in accord with the folk notion of intentional action, Mele appeals to recent surveys of folk judgments by Joshua Knobe (2003, 2004a, 2004b). Knobe’s surveys appear (...) to show that the folk judge unintended but known side effects of actions to be performed intentionally. In this paper we will reject Mele’s suggestion that the Simple View is “fiction.” We will also discuss the relationship between surveys and philosophical theories, and the abilities of surveys to access folk core concepts. We will argue that considerations of both fail to support Mele’s suggestion. (shrink)
According to traditional Judeo-Christian-Islamic theism, God is an omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect agent. This volume shows that philosophy of religion needs to take seriously alternative concepts of the divine, and demonstrates the considerable philosophical interest that they hold.
Do philosophers and ordinary people conceive of subjective experience in the same way? In this article, we argue that they do not and that the philosophical concept of phenomenal consciousness does not coincide with the folk conception. We first offer experimental support for the hypothesis that philosophers and ordinary people conceive of subjective experience in markedly different ways. We then explore experimentally the folk conception, proposing that for the folk, subjective experience is closely linked to valence. We conclude by considering (...) the implications of our findings for a central issue in the philosophy of mind, the hard problem of consciousness. (shrink)
I consider how to do sociological things with thick concepts, what’s the relation between thick concepts and social facts, what’s unique about thick concepts, and what’s unique about creatures in whose lives there are thick concepts.
The concept of mechanism in biology has three distinct meanings. It may refer to a philosophical thesis about the nature of life and biology (‘mechanicism’), to the internal workings of a machine-like structure (‘machine mechanism’), or to the causal explanation of a particular phenomenon (‘causal mechanism’). In this paper I trace the conceptual evolution of ‘mechanism’ in the history of biology, and I examine how the three meanings of this term have come to be featured in the philosophy of biology, (...) situating the new ‘mechanismic program’ in this context. I argue that the leading advocates of the mechanismic program (i.e., Craver, Darden, Bechtel, etc.) inadvertently conflate the different senses of ‘mechanism’. Specifically, they all inappropriately endow causal mechanisms with the ontic status of machine mechanisms, and this invariably results in problematic accounts of the role played by mechanism-talk in scientific practice. I suggest that for effective analyses of the concept of mechanism, causal mechanisms need to be distinguished from machine mechanisms, and the new mechanismic program in the philosophy of biology needs to be demarcated from the traditional concerns of mechanistic biology. (shrink)
This article is about the special, subjective concepts we apply to experience, called “phenomenal concepts”. They are of special interest in a number of ways. First, they refer to phenomenal experiences, and the qualitative character of those experiences whose metaphysical status is hotly debated. Conscious experience strike many philosophers as philosophically problematic and difficult to accommodate within a physicalistic metaphysics. Second, PCs are widely thought to be special and unique among concepts. The sense that there is something (...) special about PCs is very closely tied up with features of the epistemic access they afford to qualia. When we deploy phenomenal concepts introspectively to some phenomenally conscious experience as it occurs, we are said to be acquainted with our own conscious experiences. Accounts of PCs either have to explain the acquaintance relation, or acquaintance with our phenomenal experiences has to be denied. PCs have received much attention in recent philosophy of mind mainly because they figure in arguments for dualism and in physicalist responses to these arguments. The main topic of this paper is to explore different accounts of phenomenal concepts and their role in recent debates over the metaphysical status of phenomenal consciousness. (shrink)
The present essay is devoted to the application of ontology in support of research in the natural sciences. It defends the thesis that ontologies developed for such purposes should be understood as having as their subject matter, not concepts, but rather the universals and particulars which exist in reality and are captured in scientific laws. We outline the benefits of a view along these lines by showing how it yields rigorous formal definitions of the foundational relations used in many (...) influential ontologies, illustrating our results by reference to examples drawn from the domain of the life sciences. (shrink)
Justification, or at least ‘justification’, bulks large in recent epistemology. The view that knowledge consists of true-justified-belief has been prominent in this century, and the justification of belief has attracted considerable attention in its own right. But it is usually not at all clear just what an epistemologist means by ‘justified’, just what concept the term is used to express. An enormous amount of energy has gone into the attempt to specify conditions under which beliefs of one or another sort (...) are justified; but relatively little has been done to explain what it is for a belief to be justified, what that is for which conditions are being sought. The most common procedure has been to proceed on the basis of a number of obvious cases of justified belief, without pausing to determine what property it is of which these cases are instances. Now even if there were some single determinate concept that all these theoriests have implicitly in mind, this procedure would be less than wholly satisfactory. For in the absence of an explicit account of the concept being applied, we lack the most fundamental basis for deciding between supposed intuitions and for evaluating proposed conditions of justification. And in any event, as philosophers we do not seek merely to speak the truth, but also to gain an explicit, reflective understanding of the matters with which we deal. We want to know not only when our beliefs are justified, but also what it is to enjoy that status. True, not every fundamental concept can be explicated, but we shall find that much can be done with this one. (shrink)
I discuss Edouard Machery’s claim that philosophers and psychologists when using the term ‘concept’ are really theorizing about different things. This view is not new, but it has never been developed or defended in detail. Once spelled out, we can see that Machery is right that the psychological literature uses a different notion of concept. However, Machery fails to acknowledge that the two notions are not only compatible but complementary. This fits more with the traditional view according to which philosophers (...) and psychologists are merely interested in different aspects of the same kind. The main aim of this paper is then to show how precisely the two notions of ‘concept’ relate. Distinguishing them resolves the long-standing debate on whether concepts can be prototypes and allows me to formulate success conditions of a theory of categorization that are independent of the success conditions of a theory of concepts. (shrink)
This paper provides an overview of the contemporary debate on the concepts and definitions of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corporate Sustainability (CS). The conclusions, based on historical perspectives, philosophical analyses, impact of changing contexts and situations and practical considerations, show that "one solution fits all"-definition for CS(R) should be abandoned, accepting various and more specific definitions matching the development, awareness and ambition levels of organizations.
This article provides a critical overview of competing theories of conceptual structure (definitional structure, probabilistic structure, theory structure), including the view that concepts have no structure (atomism). We argue that the explanatory demands that these different theories answer to are best accommodated by an organization in which concepts are taken to have atomic cores that are linked to differing types of conceptual structure.
This article is about the special, subjective concepts we apply to experience, called “phenomenal concepts”. They are of special interest in a number of ways. First, they refer to phenomenal experiences, and the qualitative character of those experiences whose metaphysical status is hotly debated. Conscious experience strike many philosophers as philosophically problematic and difficult to accommodate within a physicalistic metaphysics. Second, PCs are widely thought to be special and unique among concepts. The sense that there is something (...) special about PCs is very closely tied up with features of the epistemic access they afford to qualia. When we deploy phenomenal concepts introspectively to some phenomenally conscious experience as it occurs, we are said to be acquainted with our own conscious experiences. Accounts of PCs either have to explain the acquaintance relation, or acquaintance with our phenomenal experiences has to be denied. PCs have received much attention in recent philosophy of mind mainly because they figure in arguments for dualism and in physicalist responses to these arguments. The main topic of this article is to explore different accounts of phenomenal concepts and their role in recent debates over the metaphysical status of phenomenal consciousness. (shrink)
This essay is a sustained attempt to bring new light to some of the perennial problems in philosophy of mind surrounding phenomenal consciousness and introspection through developing an account of sensory and phenomenal concepts. Building on the information-theoretic framework of Dretske (1981), we present an informational psychosemantics as it applies to what we call sensory concepts, concepts that apply, roughly, to so-called secondary qualities of objects. We show that these concepts have a special informational character and (...) semantic structure that closely tie them to the brain states realizing conscious qualitative experiences. We then develop an account of introspection which exploits this special nature of sensory concepts. The result is a new class of concepts, which, following recent terminology, we call phenomenal concepts: these concepts refer to phenomenal experience itself and are the vehicles used in introspection. On our account, the connection between sensory and phenomenal concepts is very tight: it consists in different semantic uses of the same cognitive structures underlying the sensory concepts, such as the concept of red. Contrary to widespread opinion, we show that information theory contains all the resources to satisfy internalist intuitions about phenomenal consciousness, while not offending externalist ones. A consequence of this account is that it explains and predicts the so-called conceivability arguments against physicalism on the basis of the special nature of sensory and phenomenal concepts. Thus we not only show why physicalism is not threatened by such arguments, but also demonstrate its strength in virtue of its ability to predict and explain away such arguments in a principled way. However, we take the main contribution of this work to be what it provides in addition to a response to those conceivability arguments, namely, a substantive account of the interface between sensory and conceptual systems and the mechanisms of introspection as based on the special nature of the information flow between them. (shrink)
The scientific concepts of mental imagery and hallucinations are each used independently of the other; uses that simultaneously evoke and obscure their historical connections. In this paper, I aim to illustrate the relevance of examining one of these historical connections for studying the current uses of these two concepts in neuroimaging experiments. To this end, I will highlight interdependent associations within the histories of each of the concepts that continue to contribute to their independent uses.That mental imagery (...) and hallucinations are used independently of each other is evident in the way that each concept influences investigations in isolation of the other. Within the neurosciences, mental imagery is... (shrink)
The debate over physicalism in philosophy of mind can be seen as concerning an inconsistent tetrad of theses: if physicalism is true, a priori physicalism is true; a priori physicalism is false; if physicalism is false, epiphenomenalism is true; epiphenomenalism is false. This paper argues that one may resolve the debate by distinguishing two conceptions of the physical: on the theory-based conception, it is plausible that is true and is false; on the object-based conception, it is plausible that is true (...) and is false. The paper also defends and explores the version of physicalism that results from this strategy. (shrink)
Abstract: Human rights developed in response to specific violations of human dignity, and can therefore be conceived as specifications of human dignity, their moral source. This internal relationship explains the moral content and moreover the distinguishing feature of human rights: they are designed for an effective implementation of the core moral values of an egalitarian universalism in terms of coercive law. This essay is an attempt to explain this moral-legal Janus face of human rights through the mediating role of the (...) concept of human dignity. This concept is due to a remarkable generalization of the particularistic meanings of those "dignities" that once were attached to specific honorific functions and memberships. In spite of its abstract meaning, "human dignity" still retains from its particularistic precursor concepts the connotation of depending on the social recognition of a status—in this case, the status of democratic citizenship. Only membership in a constitutional political community can protect, by granting equal rights, the equal human dignity of everybody. (shrink)
Nichols and Bruno claim that the folk judge that psychological continuity is necessary for personal identity. In this article, we evaluate this claim. First, we argue that it is likely that in thinking about hypothetical cases of transformations, the folk do not use a unitary concept of personal identity, but instead rely on different concepts of ‘person’, ‘identity’, and ‘individual’. Identity can be ascribed even when post-transformation individuals are no longer categorized as persons. Second, we provide new empirical evidence (...) suggesting that the folk do not consider psychological continuity to be necessary for an individual to be categorized as a person or for ascribing identity over time and through transformations. In this, we assume, along with Nichols and Bruno, that folk judgments about identity can be read off the use of proper names. Furthermore, we raise some doubts about the ability of current experimental designs to adequately distinguish between qualitative and numerical identity jud.. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that an adequate meta-semantic framework capable of accommodating the range of projects currently identified as projects in conceptual engineering must be sensitive to the fact that concepts (and hence projects relating to them) fall into distinct kinds. Concepts can vary, I will argue, with respect to their direction of determination, their modal range, and their temporal range. Acknowledging such variations yields a preliminary taxonomy of concepts and generates a meta-semantic framework that allows (...) us both to accommodate the full range of cases and to identify a proper subset of concepts for special ameliorative consideration. Ignoring such variations, in contrast, leads to a restricted meta-semantic framework that accommodates only a subset of the particular projects while generating implausible accounts of others. (shrink)
Concepts stand at the centre of human cognition. We use concepts in categorizing objects and events in the world, in reasoning and action, and in social interaction. It is therefore not surprising that the study of concepts constitutes a central area of research in philosophy and psychology, yet only recently have the two disciplines developed greater interaction. Recent experiments in psychology that test the role of concepts in categorizing and reasoning have found a great deal of (...) variation, across individuals and cultures, in categorization behaviour. Meanwhile, philosophers of language and mind have investigated the semantic properties of concepts, and how concepts are related to linguistic meaning and linguistic communication. A key motivation behind this was the idea that concepts must be shared across individuals and cultures. With the dawn of experimental philosophy, the proposal that the experimental data from psychology lacks relevance to semantics is increasingly difficult to defend. -/- This volume brings together leading psychologists and philosophers to advance the interdisciplinary debate on the role of concepts in categorizing and reasoning, the relationship between concepts and linguistic meaning and communication, the challenges conceptual variation poses to communication, and the social and political effects of conceptual change. (shrink)