There is a line of reasoning in metaepistemology that is congenial to naturalism and hard to resist, yet ultimately misguided: that knowledge might be a natural kind, and that this would undermine the use of conceptual analysis in the theory of knowledge. In this paper, I first bring out various problems with Hilary Kornblith’s argument from the causal–explanatory indispensability of knowledge to the natural kindhood of knowledge. I then criticize the argument from the natural kindhood (...) of knowledge against the method of conceptual analysis in the theory of knowledge. A natural motivation for this argument is the following seemingly plausible principle: if knowledge is a natural kind, then the concept of knowledge is a natural kind concept. Since this principle lacks adequate support, the crucial semantic claim that the concept of knowledge is a natural kind concept must be defended in some more direct way. However, there are two striking epistemic disanalogies between the concept of knowledge and paradigmatic natural kind concepts that militate against this semantic claim. Conceptual analyses of knowledge are not affected by total error, and the proponents of such analyses are not subject to a priori conceptual obliviousness. I conclude that the argument from natural kindhood does not succeed in undermining the use of conceptual analysis in the theory of knowledge. (shrink)
Concepts are the elementary units of reason and linguistic meaning. They are conventional and relatively stable. As such, they must somehow be the result of neural activity in the brain. The questions are: Where? and How? A common philosophical position is that all concepts—even concepts about action and perception—are symbolic and abstract, and therefore must be implemented outside the brain’s sensory-motor system. We will argue against this position using (1) neuroscientific evidence; (2) results from neural computation; and (3) results about (...) the nature of concepts from cognitive linguistics. We will propose that the sensory-motor system has the right kind of structure to characterise both sensory-motor and more abstract concepts. Central to this picture are the neural theory of language and the theory of cogs, according to which, brain structures in the sensory-motor regions are exploited to characterise the so-called “abstract” concepts that constitute the meanings of grammatical constructions and general inference patterns. (shrink)
The paper is an investigation into the prospects of an epistemology of non-conceptualknowledge. According to the orthodox view, knowledge requires concepts and belief. I present several arguments to the effect that there is non-conceptual, non-doxastic knowledge, the obvious candidate for such knowledge being non-conceptual perception. Non-conceptual perception seems to be allowed for by cognitive scientists and it exhibits the central role features of knowledge—it plays the knowledge role: it respects (...) an anti-luck condition, it is an achievement, it enables one to act for a reason, and it provides justification. Furthermore, it makes a straightforward and elegant explanation of perceptual knowledge possible: doxastic perceptual knowledge builds on non-conceptual perception as non-conceptualknowledge. Three objections that might naturally arise will be discussed and answered. Thus, the prospects of an epistemology without belief seem to be much better than the orthodoxy wants to have it. We can extend knowledge into the non-conceptual realm. (shrink)
According to Frank Jackson’s famous knowledge argument, Mary, a brilliant neuroscientist raised in a black and white room and bestowed with complete physical knowledge, cannot know certain truths about phenomenal experience. This claim about knowledge, in turn, implies that physicalism is false. I argue that the knowledge argument founders on a dilemma. Either (i) Mary cannot know the relevant experiential truths because of trivial obstacles that have no bearing on the truth of physicalism or (ii) once (...) the obstacles have been removed, Mary can know the relevant truths. If we give Mary the epistemological capabilities necessary to draw metaphysical conclusions about physicalism, she will, while trapped in the black and white room, be able to know every truth about phenomenal experience. (shrink)
If embodied models no longer address the symbol grounding problem and a conceptual system can step in and resolve categorizations when embodied simulations fail, then perhaps the next step in theory-building is to isolate the unique contributions of embodied simulation. What is a disembodied conceptual system incapable of doing with respect to semantic processing or the categorization of smiles?
I argue that knowledge is a natural kind found in the modules of a massively modular mind. As such, it is not a conceptual kind. The result is that knowledge must be studied empirically and not by appeal to a priori analysis.
Dans mon article, je soutiens qu'il existe une voie epistemique fiable qui mène de la connaissance des verités conceptuelles a celle des nécessites métaphysiques. Dans un premier temps, je montre que nous pouvons prétendre connaitre des vérites conceptuelles dans la mesure ou nous savons à quelles conditions nos termes s'appliquent. Je défends notamment cette idée face a un argument récent que Williamson adresse a la conception épistémique de l'analyticite. Dans un second temps, je montre que notre connaissance des vérités conceptuelles (...) constitue un moyen fiable de connaitre des nécessités métaphysiques. En effet, de deux choses l'une : ou bien la connaissance conceptuelle conduit directement a la connaissance de nécessités métaphysiques ; ou bien, lorsque ce n'est pas le cas, nous pouvons du moins savoir qu'une telle inférence n'est pas permise, en vertu d une réflexion purement sémantique, « depuis notre fauteuil» . J'en conclus que la connaissance conceptuelle constitue un moyen sur d'acquérir des connaissances modales.I argue that there is a reliable epistemic route from knowledge of conceptual truths to knowledge of metaphysical necessities. In a first step, I argue that we possess knowledge of conceptual truths since we know what our terms apply to. I bolster this line of thought with a rebuttal of Williamson's recent argument against epistemic analyticity. In a second step, I argue that our knowledge of conceptual truths allows us to reliably attain knowledge of metaphysical necessities. Either this knowledge straightforwardly yields knowledge of metaphysical necessities. Or it is such that we can by armchair semantic reflection discover that it fails to do so. I conclude that conceptualknowledge provides a safe route to modal knowledge. (shrink)
In this illuminating study Craig argues that the standard practice of analyzing the concept of knowledge has radical defects--arbitrary restriction of the subject matter and risky theoretical presuppositions. He proposes a new approach similar to the "state-of-nature" method found in political theory, building the concept up from a hypothesis about its social function and the needs it fulfills. Shedding light on much that philosophers have written about knowledge, its analysis and the obstacles to its analysis, and the debate (...) over skepticism, this compelling work will be of interest to students and scholars of epistemology and the philosophy of language. (shrink)
The dominating models of information processes have been based on symbolic representations of information and knowledge. During the last decades, a variety of non-symbolic models have been proposed as superior. The prime examples of models within the non-symbolic approach are neural networks. However, to a large extent they lack a higher-level theory of representation. In this paper, conceptual spaces are suggested as an appropriate framework for non- symbolic models. Conceptual spaces consist of a number of 'quality dimensions' (...) that often are derived from perceptual mechanisms. It will be outlined how conceptual spaces can represent various kind of information and how they can be used to describe concept learning. The connections to prototype theory will also be presented. (shrink)
: This paper offers a preliminary analysis of conceptual change between event concepts. It begins with a brief review of the major findings of cognitive studies on event knowledge. The script model proposed by Schank and Abelson was the first attempt to represent event knowledge. Subsequent cognitive studies indicated that event knowledge is organized in the form of dimensional organizations in which temporally successive actions are related causally. This paper proposes a frame representation to capture and (...) outline the internal structure of event concepts, in particular, their causal connections. The frame representation offers an effective method to analyze the relations between event concepts, and to expose the unique cognitive mechanisms behind conceptual change involved event concepts. Finally this paper shows that the frame representation of event concepts is instrumental to understanding an important historical episode of conceptual change in the context of nineteenth-century optics. (shrink)
Popper's thesis that the growth of knowledge lies in the emergence of problems out of criticism and takes place in an autonomous world of products of the human mind (his so-called world-3) raises two questions: (1) Why does criticism lead to new problems, and (2) Why can only a limited number of tentative solutions arise at a given time? I propose the following answer: Criticism entails an overlooked evolutionary world-3 mechanism, namely, the migration of piece meal conceptual schemes (...) from one research tradition to another. Popper by passed the questions above because he relied very heavily on the selective power of criticism. (shrink)
We propose the SIMS model can be strengthened by detailing the dynamic interaction between sensorimotor activation and contextual conceptual information. Rapidly activated evaluations and contextual knowledge can guide and constrain embodied simulations. In addition, we stress the potential importance of extending the SIMS model to dynamic social interactions that go beyond the passive observer.
The creation of life has always spurred literary and cinematic productivity. Due to scientific progress in the fields of microbiology and genetics, countless novels and films today reflect the idea of human cloning more than other ideas. While the clone is often seen as the epitome of the posthuman, contemporary texts and films tend to modify the concept and humanize the clone. It can be said that fictional literature and films play a pivotal role in the construction, modification, and circulation (...) of concepts. Based on a cognitive linguistic concept of concept, the clone will be analyzed as an epistemic object. Focusing on conceptual processes of the configuration of knowledge, this article will show how the process of conceptualization works in literary texts and films and describe the techniques by which categories and concepts are constantly modified. Thus, it will be argued that literature and film play an active part in shaping a society's stock of knowledge. (shrink)
Phonological Knowledge addresses central questions in the foundations of phonology and locates them within their larger linguistic and philosophical context. Phonology is a discipline grounded in observable facts, but like any discipline it rests on conceptual assumptions. This book investigates the nature, status, and acquisition of phonological knowledge: it enquires into the conceptual and empirical foundations of phonology, and considers the relation of phonology to the theory of language and other capacities of mind. The authors address (...) a wide range of interrelated questions, the most central of which is this: is phonological knowledge different from linguistic knowledge in general? They offer responses to this question from a variety of perspectives, each of which has consequences for how phonology and language are conceived. Each also involves a host of further questions concerning the modularity of mind and of language; whether phonology should be included in the language faculty; the nature-convention debate; the content of phonological elements and its relation to phonetic substance; the implications of sign languages for phonology; whether functional and variationist considerations are relevant in phonology; how phonological knowledge arises; and, not least, the data and methods appropriate for phonological inquiry. Phonological Knowledge is an important contribution to the most fundamental issues in phonology and the understanding of language. It will interest researchers in and advanced students of phonology, linguistic theory, and philosophy of language.In addition to the editors, the authors are Mary Beckman, Silvain Bromberger, Jennifer Fitzpatrick, Paul Foulkes, Mark Hale, Morris Hallé, John Harris, Harry van der Hulst, Robert Ladd, G. Lindsey, Scott Myers, Janet Pierrehumbert, Charles Reiss, Shelley Velleman, Marilyn Vihman, and Linda Wheeldon.By relating foundational questions of phonology to their larger linguistic, cognitive, and philosophical contexts this book will generate interest not only among phonologists and their advanced students, but also among all those concerned to understand the forms and functions of language. (shrink)
The standard philosophical project of analysing the concept of knowledge has radical defects in its arbitrary restriction of the subject matter, and its risky theoretical presuppositions. Edward Craig suggests a more illuminating approach, akin to the `state of nature' method found in political theory, which builds up the concept from a hypothesis about the social function of knowledge and the needs it fulfils. Light is thrown on much that philosophers have written about knowledge, about its analysis and (...) the obstacles to its analysis, and on the debate over scepticism. It becomes apparent why many languages not only have such constructions as `knows whether' and `knows that', but also have equivalents of `knows how to' and `know' followed by a direct object. Thus the inquiry is both broadened in scope and made theoretically less fragile. (shrink)
Research on language processing has shown that the disruption of conceptual integration gives rise to specific patterns of event-related brain potentials —N400 and P600 effects. Here, we report similar ERP effects when adults performed cross-domain conceptual integration of analogous semantic and mathematical relations. In a problem-solving task, when participants generated labeled answers to semantically aligned and misaligned arithmetic problems, the second object label in misaligned problems yielded an N400 effect for addition problems. In a verification task, when participants (...) judged arithmetically correct but semantically misaligned problem sentences to be “unacceptable,” the second object label in misaligned sentences elicited a P600 effect. Thus, depending on task constraints, misaligned problems can show either of two ERP signatures of conceptual disruption. These results show that well-educated adults can integrate mathematical and semantic relations on the rapid timescale of within-domain ERP effects by a process akin to analogical mapping. (shrink)