About this topic
Summary This contains works that deal substantively with concepts but do not fall into any particular category delimited elsewhere. Many of these works focus on the relationship of concepts to language and the lexicon, and therefore center on concept-word relations. Others deal with conceptual combination and problems of compositionality.
Key works Since this area is by its nature something of a heterogeneous grab-bag, there are no key works that serve to introduce it.
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135 found
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1 — 50 / 135
  1. Avner Baz on aspects and concepts: a critique.Reshef Agam-Segal - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-33.
    ABSTRACTI defend the view that aspect-perception – seeing as a duck, or a face as courageous – typically involves concept-application. Seemingly obvious, this is contested by Avner Baz: ‘aspects ma...
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  2. Innateness.Steven Gross & Georges Rey - forthcoming - In Eric Margolis, Richard Samuels & Stephen Stich (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Cognitive Science. Oxford University Press.
    A survey of innateness in cognitive science, focusing on (1) what innateness might be, and (2) whether concepts might be innate.
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  3. Scharp on inconsistent concepts and their engineered replacements, or: can we mend these broken things?Mark Pinder - forthcoming - Tandf: Inquiry:1-22.
    Kevin Scharp’s influential work on the alethic paradoxes combines an extensively developed inconsistency theory with a substantial conceptual engineering project. I argue that Scharp’s inconsistency theory is in tension with his conceptual engineering project: the inconsistency theory includes an account of concepts that implies that the conceptual engineering project will fail. I recommend that Scharp revises his account of concepts, and show how doing so allows him to resolve the tension. The discussion is important for ongoing work on conceptual engineering. (...)
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  4. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Psychology.Jesse J. Prinz (ed.) - forthcoming - Oxford University Press.
  5. Mentalizing Objects.David Rose - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy 4.
    We have a mentalistic view of objects. This is due to the interdependence of folk psychology and folk physics, where these are interconnected by what I call Teleological Commingling. When considering events that don’t involve agents, we naturally default to tracking intentions, goal-directed processes, despite the fact that agents aren’t involved. We have a deep-seated intentionality bias which is the result of the pervasive detection of agency cues, such as order or non-randomness. And this gives rise to the Agentive Worldview: (...)
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  6. Coordination in Thought.Henry Clarke - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (1):191-212.
    Coordination in thought is the treatment of beliefs by the believer as being about the same thing. Such treatment can be indirect, via an identity belief, or direct. Direct coordination presents a problem concerning how this treatment is justified. Dickie accounts for the justification of coordination in terms of aptness to a motivational state: coordination serves to fulfil a need to represent things outside the mind. I argue that this account gets the problem coordination presents wrong, and so does not (...)
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  7. A Context-Sensitive and Non-Linguistic Approach to Abstract Concepts.Peter Langland-Hassan & Charles Davis - 2022 - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 378.
    Despite the recent upsurge in research on abstract concepts, there remain puzzles at the foundation of their empirical study. These are most evident when we consider what is required to assess a person’s abstract conceptual abilities without using language as a prompt or requiring it as a response—as in classic non-verbal categorization tasks, which are standardly considered tests of conceptual understanding. After distinguishing two divergent strands in the most common conception of what it is for a concept to be abstract, (...)
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  8. Psychological Essentialism and the Structure of Concepts.Eleonore Neufeld - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (5):e12823.
    Psychological essentialism is the hypothesis that humans represent some categories as having an underlying essence that unifies members of a category and is causally responsible for their typical attributes and behaviors. Throughout the past several decades, psychological essentialism has emerged as an extremely active area of research in cognitive science. More recently, it has also attracted attention from philosophers, who put the empirical results to use in many different philosophical areas, ranging from philosophy of mind and cognitive science to social (...)
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  9. “They're Not True Humans:” Beliefs about Moral Character Drive Denials of Humanity.Ben Phillips - 2022 - Cognitive Science 46 (2):e13089.
    A puzzling feature of paradigmatic cases of dehumanization is that the perpetrators often attribute uniquely human traits to their victims. This has become known as the “paradox of dehumanization.” We address the paradox by arguing that the perpetrators think of their victims as human in one sense, while denying that they are human in another sense. We do so by providing evidence that people harbor a dual character concept of humanity. Research has found that dual character concepts have two independent (...)
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  10. Function-Based Conceptual Engineering and the Authority Problem.Matthieu Queloz - 2022 - Mind 131 (524):1–32.
    In this paper, I identify a central problem for conceptual engineering: the problem of showing concept-users why they should recognise the authority of the concepts advocated by engineers. I argue that this authority problem cannot generally be solved by appealing to the increased precision, consistency, or other theoretical virtues of engineered concepts. Outside contexts in which we anyway already aim to realise theoretical virtues, solving the authority problem requires engineering to take a functional turn and attend to the functions of (...)
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  11. Moral responsibility for concepts, continued: Concepts as abstract objects.Rachel Fredericks - 2020 - European Journal of Philosophy 28 (4):1029-1043.
    In Fredericks (2018b), I argued that we can be morally responsible for our concepts if they are mental representations. Here, I make a complementary argument for the claim that even if concepts are abstract objects, we can be morally responsible for coming to grasp and for thinking (or not thinking) in terms of them. As before, I take for granted Angela Smith's (2005) rational relations account of moral responsibility, though I think the same conclusion follows from various other accounts. My (...)
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  12. Moral Constraints on Gender Concepts.N. G. Laskowski - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (1):39-51.
    Are words like ‘woman’ or ‘man’ sex terms that we use to talk about biological features of individuals? Are they gender terms that we use to talk about non-biological features e.g. social roles? Contextualists answer both questions affirmatively, arguing that these terms concern biological or non-biological features depending on context. I argue that a recent version of contextualism from Jennifer Saul that Esa Diaz-Leon develops doesn't exhibit the right kind of flexibility to capture our theoretical intuitions or moral and political (...)
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  13. Schopenhauer’s Perceptive Invective.Michel-Antoine Xhignesse - 2020 - In Jens Lemanski (ed.), Language, Logic, and Mathematics in Schopenhauer. Basel, Schweiz: Birkhäuser. pp. 95-107.
    Schopenhauer’s invective is legendary among philosophers, and is unmatched in the historical canon. But these complaints are themselves worthy of careful consideration: they are rooted in Schopenhauer’s philosophy of language, which itself reflects the structure of his metaphysics. This short chapter argues that Schopenhauer’s vitriol rewards philosophical attention; not because it expresses his critical take on Fichte, Hegel, Herbart, Schelling, and Schleiermacher, but because it neatly illustrates his philosophy of language. Schopenhauer’s epithets are not merely spiteful slurs; instead, they reflect (...)
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  14. Editorial: Sensory Categories.Yasmina Jraissati - 2019 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 10 (3):419-439.
  15. The Conceptual Impossibility of Free Will Error Theory.Andrew J. Latham - 2019 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 15 (2):99-120.
    This paper argues for a view of free will that I will call the conceptual impossibility of the truth of free will error theory - the conceptual impossibility thesis. I will argue that given the concept of free will we in fact deploy, it is impossible for our free will judgements - judgements regarding whether some action is free or not - to be systematically false. Since we do judge many of our actions to be free, it follows from the (...)
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  16. Shared modes of presentation.Simon Prosser - 2019 - Mind and Language 34 (4):465-482.
    What is it for two people to think of an object, natural kind or other entity under the same mode of presentation (MOP)? This has seemed a particularly difficult question for advocates of the Mental Files approach, the Language of Thought, or other ‘atomistic’ theories. In this paper I propose a simple answer. I first argue that, by parallel with the synchronic intrapersonal case, the sharing of a MOP should involve a certain kind of epistemic transparency between the token thoughts (...)
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  17. Teleological Essentialism.David Rose & Shaun Nichols - 2019 - Cognitive Science 43 (4):e12725.
    Placeholder essentialism is the view that there is a causal essence that holds category members together, though we may not know what the essence is. Sometimes the placeholder can be filled in by scientific essences, such as when we acquire scientific knowledge that the atomic weight of gold is 79. We challenge the view that placeholders are elaborated by scientific essences. On our view, if placeholders are elaborated, they are elaborated Aristotelian essences, a telos. Utilizing the same kinds of experiments (...)
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  18. Are Sensory Concepts Learned by “Abstraction” from Experience?Pär Sundström - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (5):1159-1178.
    In recent years, many philosophers and scientists have argued or accepted that it is impossible to learn primitive sensory concepts like “blue” and “red”. This paper defends a more qualified picture. I try to show that some received characterisations of “learning” are nonequivalent and point towards different learning-nonlearning distinctions. And, on some ways of specifying such a distinction, it might be correct that we do not and cannot “learn” a concept of blue. But on other ways of specifying such a (...)
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  19. Frege Puzzles and Mental Files.Henry Clarke - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (2):351-366.
    This paper proposes a novel conception of mental files, aimed at addressing Frege puzzles. Classical Frege puzzles involve ignorance and discovery of identity. These may be addressed by accounting for a more basic way for identity to figure in thought—the treatment of beliefs by the believer as being about the same thing. This manifests itself in rational inferences that presuppose the identity of what the beliefs are about. Mental files help to provide a functional characterization of a mind capable of (...)
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  20. Moral Responsibility for Concepts.Rachel Fredericks - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (4):1381-1397.
    I argue that we are sometimes morally responsible for having and using (or not using) our concepts, despite the fact that we generally do not choose to have them or have full or direct voluntary control over how we use them. I do so by extending an argument of Angela Smith's; the same features that she says make us morally responsible for some of our attitudes also make us morally responsible for some of our concepts. Specifically, like attitudes, concepts can (...)
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  21. Inner Speech as the Internalization of Outer Speech.Christopher Gauker - 2018 - In Peter Langland-Hassan & Agustin Vicente (eds.), Inner Speech: New Voices. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 53-77.
    This paper aims to clear a path for the thesis that inner speech, in the very languages we speak, is the sole medium of all conceptual thought. First, it is argued that inner speech should not be identified with the auditory imagery of speech. Since they are distinct, there may be many more episodes of inner speech than those that are accompanied by auditory imagery. Second, it is argued that it is not necessary to conceive of linguistic communication as a (...)
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  22. On the supposed connection between proper names and singular thought.Rachel Goodman - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):197-223.
    A thesis I call the name-based singular thought thesis is part of orthodoxy in contemporary philosophy of mind and language: it holds that taking part in communication involving a proper name puts one in a position to entertain singular thoughts about the name’s referent. I argue, first, that proponents of the NBT thesis have failed to explain the phenomenon of name-based singular thoughts, leaving it mysterious how name-use enables singular thoughts. Second, by outlining the reasoning that makes the NBT thesis (...)
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  23. Wiele twarzy konceptualizmu.Piotr Kozak - 2018 - Diametros 57:88-100.
  24. Law as Trope: Framing and Evaluating Conceptual Metaphors.Lloyd Harold Anthony - 2016 - Pace Law Review 37.
    Like others who work with language, many lawyers no doubt appreciate good kennings. However, metaphors also play a much deeper role in thought and law than style, ornament, or verbal virtuosity. As we shall see, metaphors play a necessary role in our categories of thought. As a result, metaphors are a necessary part of thought itself, including legal thought.
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  25. Against the Mental Files Conception of Singular Thought.Rachel Goodman - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (2):437-461.
    It has become popular of late to identify the phenomenon of thinking a singular thought with that of thinking with a mental file. Proponents of the mental files conception of singular thought claim that one thinks a singular thought about an object o iff one employs a mental file to think about o. I argue that this is false by arguing that there are what I call descriptive mental files, so some file-based thought is not singular thought. Descriptive mental files (...)
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  26. Concepts of Objects as Prescribing Laws: A Kantian and Pragmatist Line of Thought.James O'Shea - 2016 - In Robert Stern and Gabriele Gava, eds., Pragmatism, Kant, and Transcendental Philosophy (London: Routledge): pp. 196–216. London, UK: pp. 196-216.
    Abstract: This paper traces a Kantian and pragmatist line of thinking that connects the ideas of conceptual content, object cognition, and modal constraints in the form of counterfactual sustaining causal laws. It is an idea that extends from Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason through C. I. Lewis’s Mind and the World-Order to the Kantian naturalism of Wilfrid Sellars and the analytic pragmatism of Robert Brandom. Kant put forward what I characterize as a modal conception of objectivity, which he developed as (...)
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  27. In Defence of Type-A Materialism.Roberto Horácio Sá Pereira - 2016 - Diametros 49:68-83.
    In this paper, I argue against the phenomenal concept strategy and in favor of what Chalmers has called type-A materialism. On her release, Mary makes no cognitive discovery at all; not even a thin non-possibility-eliminating discovery, as Tye has recently claimed. When she is imprisoned, Mary already knows everything that is to be known about the phenomenal character of her experiences. What Mary acquires is a new non-cognitive and nonconceptual representation.
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  28. Internalism and the explanatory role of narrow content.Sam Baird - 2015 - Dissertation, University of Edinburgh
    The central problem addressed by this thesis is how narrow content can be genuinely representational and relate to the individuation of mental representations. A second problem relates to the explanatory role of narrow content. The challenge facing the proponent of narrow content is that externalism is the standard position with regard to representation, individuation, and explanation, and it is often held that narrow content is either incoherent or explanatorily redundant. To this end, I defend a version of a two-component theory (...)
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  29. Co to jest myślenie.Piotr Kozak - 2015 - Warszawa: Scholar.
    My main aim is to answer the question regarding the relationship between concepts and sensuous cognition on the basis of Kant’s critical philosophy. I argue that concepts are a part of the sensuous experience. The key question regarding the shape of this relation and the way concepts interconnect with sensibility are formulated in terms of the so-called rule-following problem that I try to resolve with reference to the function of the so-called power of judgment and Kant’s Third Critique. I argue (...)
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  30. Kant and the Hard Problem of Concepts.Piotr Kozak - 2015 - Diametros 46:159-170.
  31. Formative Non-Conceptual Content.Benjamin D. Young - 2015 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 22 (5-6):201-214.
    The olfactory system processes smells in a structural manner that is unlike the composition of thoughts or language, suggesting that some of the content of our olfactory experiences are represented in a format that does not involve concepts. Consequently, formative non-conceptual content is offered as an alternative theory of non-conceptual content according to which the difference between conceptual and non-conceptual states is simply a matter of the format of their structural parts and relations within a system of representations. Aside from (...)
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  32. An Outline for Ambivalence of Value Judgment.Hili Razinsky - 2014 - Journal of Value Inquiry 48 (3):469-488.
    I shall argue, however, that there can be genuine ambivalence between a judgment that A is v and a judgment that A is not v. Such ambivalence may, moreover, be precisely of the kind that appears to be either impossible or destructive for ethics. Objectivist ambivalence, as we shall call it, is neither an accidental nor peripheral feature of our value discourse. At the same time it is not destructive to ethics or to value judgments in general, but only to (...)
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  33. Linguistic Function and Content: Reflections on Price's Pragmatism.Lionel Shapiro - 2014 - Philosophical Quarterly 64 (256):497-506.
    Huw Price proposes a strategy for dissolving ontological puzzles through a pragmatist account of our conceptual activity. Here I consider the proper place for conceptual content in Price’s pragmatism. Price himself rules out any explanatory role for content, just as he rules out any explanatory role for representational notions such as reference and truth. I argue that the cases are disanalogous and that he offers no good reasons for avoiding explanatory appeal to content. Furthermore, I argue that doing so is (...)
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  34. Conceptos de sustancias y conceptos de propiedades en animales no humanos.Laura Danón - 2013 - Critica 45 (133):27-54.
    El presente trabajo tiene dos objetivos centrales. Primero caracterizaré una variante de pragmatismo conceptual según la cual algunos conceptos deben entenderse como habilidades para identificar sustancias e identificar propiedades del entorno, y mostraré que quien cuenta con esas dos habilidades satisface, en grados diversos en cada caso, distintos requisitos centrales para la posesión de conceptos. Posteriormente defenderé la viabilidad de extender este enfoque a los animales no humanos, apelando a evidencia empírica que indica que distintas especies son capaces de identificar (...)
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  35. Concepts in the Brain: Neuroscience, Embodiment, and Categorization.Joseph B. McCaffrey - 2013 - ProtoSociology 30:167-190.
    What does cognitive neuroscience contribute to our philosophical understanding of concepts? Over the past several decades, brain researchers have employed the tools of cognitive neuroscience and neuropsychology to probe the structure and func­tion of the conceptual system. The results of this effort, which are often extremely surprising, raise more questions than they resolve. Brain research has invigorated age-old philosophical debates about the nature of concepts—such as whether concepts are perceptual representations—and generated new controversies about how conceptual knowledge is organized. In (...)
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  36. Book Symposium on François Recanati's Mental Files.Fiora Salis (ed.) - 2013 - Disputatio V (36).
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  37. concepts.Daniel A. Weiskopf - 2013 - In Byron Kaldis (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Social Sciences, Vol. 1. Sage Publications. pp. 138-144.
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  38. Concepts: A Critical Approach.Andy Blunden - 2012 - Brill.
    This book offers an overview of theories of the Concept, drawing on the philosopher Hegel and the Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky. Concepts are shown to be both units of the mind and units of a cultural formation.
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  39. The Myth of Concept Publicity.Laura Duhau Girola - 2012 - Ideas Y Valores 61 (148):101-113.
    In this paper I defend the claim that concepts are not public. I argue that two of the main constraints for theories of concepts, namely (1) that concepts are public and (2) that they serve to explain Frege Cases, are in tension. (1) requires concepts to be individuated coarsely, while (2) requires ..
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  40. Why and how not to be a sortalist about thought.Rachel Goodman - 2012 - Philosophical Perspectives 26 (1):77-112.
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  41. Having “A Whole Battery of Concepts”: Thinking Rhetorically About the Norms of Reason.John Lyne - 2012 - Normative Funtionalism and the Pittsburgh School.
  42. On the genealogy of concepts and experimental practices: Rethinking Georges Canguilhem’s historical epistemology.Pierre-Olivier Méthot - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 1 (1):112-123.
    The importance given by historian and philosopher of science Georges Canguilhem to the role of practice, techniques, and experimentation in concept-formation was largely overlooked by commentators. After placing Canguilhem’s contributions within the larger history of historical epistemology in France, and clarifying his views regarding this expression, I re-evaluate the relation between concepts and experimental practices in Canguilhem’s philosophy of science. Drawing on his early writings on the relations between science and technology in the 1930s, on the Essai sur quelques problèmes (...)
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  43. Why Believe in Demonstrative Concepts?David Pereplyotchik - 2012 - Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2):636-638.
    I examine two arguments for the existence of demonstrative concepts—one due to Chuard (2006) and another due to Brewer (1999). I point out some important difficulties in each. I hope to show that much more work must be done to legitimize positing demonstrative concepts.
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  44. On making mistakes in Plato: Thaeatetus 187c-200d.Catherine Rowett - 2012 - Topoi 31 (2):151-166.
    In this paper I explore a famous part of Plato’s Theaetetus where Socrates develops various models of the mind (picturing it first as a wax tablet and then as an aviary full of specimen birds). These are to solve some puzzles about how it is possible to make a mistake. On my interpretation, defended here, the discussion of mistakes is no digression, but is part of the refutation of Theaetetus’s thesis that knowledge is “true doxa”. It reveals that false doxa (...)
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  45. Lethal differences: a short history of the concepts of wealth and poverty in Danish epidemiological writings 1858-1914.Ivan Lind Christensen - 2011 - History of the Human Sciences 24 (3):1-21.
    Through a study of the history of the concepts of wealth and poverty, this paper investigates the onset of a transition in the conceptual architecture of epidemiological research concerning social differences in mortality rates from 1858 to 1914. It raises the question as to what the concepts of wealth and poverty meant to those who used them and what objects of interventions the conceptual architecture surrounding the concepts enabled the researchers to create. It argues that a transition began in the (...)
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  46. Concepts are not icons.Christopher Gauker - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (3):127.
    Carey speculates that the representations of core cognition are entirely iconic. However this idea is undercut by her contention that core cognition includes concepts such as object and agency, which are employed in thought as predicates. If Carey had taken on board her claim that core cognition is iconic, very different hypotheses might have come into view.
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  47. Meaning, Concepts, and the Lexicon.Michael Glanzberg - 2011 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 11 (1):1-29.
    This paper explores how words relate to concepts. It argues that in many cases, words get their meanings in part by associating with concepts, but only in conjunction with substantial input from language. Language packages concepts in grammatically determined ways. This structures the meanings of words, and determines which sorts of concepts map to words. The results are linguistically modulated meanings, and the extralinguistic concepts associated with words are often not what intuitively would be expected. The paper concludes by discussing (...)
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  48. About Key Concepts and How to Study Them.Jan Ifversen - 2011 - Contributions to the History of Concepts 6 (1):65-88.
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  49. The Philosophy of Curiosity.Ilhan Inan - 2011 - Routledge.
    In this book, Ilhan Inan questions the classical definition of curiosity as _a desire to know._ Working in an area where epistemology and philosophy of language overlap, Inan forges a link between our ability to become aware of our ignorance and our linguistic aptitude to construct terms referring to things unknown. The book introduces the notion of inostensible reference. Ilhan connects this notion to related concepts in philosophy of language: knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description; the referential and the (...)
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  50. Learning Matters: The Role of Learning in Concept Acquisition.Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence - 2011 - Mind and Language 26 (5):507-539.
    In LOT 2: The Language of Thought Revisited, Jerry Fodor argues that concept learning of any kind—even for complex concepts—is simply impossible. In order to avoid the conclusion that all concepts, primitive and complex, are innate, he argues that concept acquisition depends on purely noncognitive biological processes. In this paper, we show (1) that Fodor fails to establish that concept learning is impossible, (2) that his own biological account of concept acquisition is unworkable, and (3) that there are in fact (...)
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