A critique of the similarity space theory of concepts

Mind and Language 22 (4):317–345 (2007)

Abstract

A similarity space is a hyperspace in which the dimensions represent various dimensions on which objects may differ. The similarity space theory of concepts is the thesis that concepts are regions of similarity spaces that are somehow realized in the brain. Proponents of such a theory of concepts include Paul Churchland and Peter Gärdenfors. This paper argues that the similarity space theory of concepts is mistaken because regions of similarity spaces cannot serve as the components of judgments. It emerges that although similarity spaces cannot model concepts, they may model a kind of nonconceptual representation.

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Christopher Gauker
University of Salzburg

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