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  1. New Boundary Lines.Alejandro Pérez Carballo - manuscript
    Intellectual progress involves forming a more accurate picture of the world. But it also figuring out which concepts to use for theorizing about the world. Bayesian epistemology has had much to say about the former aspect of our cognitive lives, but little if at all about the latter. I outline a framework for formulating questions about conceptual change in a broadly Bayesian framework. By enriching the resources of Epistemic Utility Theory with a more expansive conception of epistemic value, I offer (...)
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  2. Nietzsche's Conceptual Ethics.Matthieu Queloz - manuscript
    If ethical reflection on which concepts to use has an avatar, it must be Nietzsche, who took more seriously than most the question of what concepts one should live by, and regarded many of our inherited concepts as deeply problematic. Moreover, his eschewal of traditional attempts to derive the one right set of concepts from timeless rational foundations renders his conceptual ethics strikingly modern, raising the prospect of a Nietzschean alternative to Wittgensteinian non-foundationalism. Yet Nietzsche appears to engage in two (...)
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  3. Don't Trust Fodor's Guide in Monte Carlo: Learning Concepts by Hypothesis Testing Without Circularity.Michael Deigan - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    Fodor argued that learning a concept by hypothesis testing would involve an impossible circularity. I show that Fodor's argument implicitly relies on the assumption that actually φ-ing entails an ability to φ. But this assumption is false in cases of φ-ing by luck, and just such luck is involved in testing hypotheses with the kinds of generative random sampling methods that many cognitive scientists take our minds to use. Concepts thus can be learned by hypothesis testing without circularity, and it (...)
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  4. Function-Based Conceptual Engineering and the Authority Problem.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Mind.
    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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  5. Practical Judgment as Reflective Judgment: On Moral Salience and Kantian Particularist Universalism.Sabina Vaccarino Bremner - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.
    Moral particularists and generalists alike have struggled over how to incorporate the role of moral salience in ethical reasoning. In this paper, I point to neglected resources in Kant to account for the role of moral salience in maxim formation: Kant's theory of reflective judgment. Kant tasks reflective judgment with picking out salient empirical particulars for formation into maxims, associating it with purposiveness, or intentional activity (action on ends). The unexpected resources in Kantian reflective judgment suggest the possibility of a (...)
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  6. Idealism, Quietism, Conceptual Change: Sellars and McDowell on the Knowability of the World.Michael R. Hicks - 2022 - Giornali di Metafisica 44 (1):51-71.
    Both Wilfrid Sellars and John McDowell reject Kant’s conclusion that the world is fundamentally unknowable, and on similar grounds: each invokes conceptual change, what I call the diachronic instability of a conceptual scheme. The similarities end there, though. It is important to Sellars that the world is only knowable at “the end of inquiry” – he rejects a commonsense realism like McDowell’s for its inability to fully appreciate diachronic instability. To evaluate this disagreement, I consider Timothy Williamson’s argument that the (...)
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  7. Left Wittgensteinianism.Matthieu Queloz & Damian Cueni - 2021 - European Journal of Philosophy 29 (4):758-777.
    Social and political concepts are indispensable yet historically and culturally variable in a way that poses a challenge: how can we reconcile confident commitment to them with awareness of their contingency? In this article, we argue that available responses to this problem—Foundationalism, Ironism, and Right Wittgensteinianism—are unsatisfactory. Instead, we draw on the work of Bernard Williams to tease out and develop a Left Wittgensteinian response. In present-day pluralistic and historically self-conscious societies, mere confidence in our concepts is not enough. For (...)
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  8. Meanings as Species. [REVIEW]Indrek Reiland - 2021 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2.
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  9. Strategic Conceptual Engineering for Epistemic and Social Aims.Ingo Brigandt & Esther Rosario - 2020 - In Alexis Burgess, Herman Cappelen & David Plunkett (eds.), Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 100-124.
    Examining previous discussions on how to construe the concepts of gender and race, we advocate what we call strategic conceptual engineering. This is the employment of a (possibly novel) concept for specific epistemic or social aims, concomitant with the openness to use a different concept (e.g., of race) for other purposes. We illustrate this approach by sketching three distinct concepts of gender and arguing that all of them are needed, as they answer to different social aims. The first concept serves (...)
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  10. Sellars, Truth Pluralism, and Truth Relativism.Lionel Shapiro - 2020 - In Stefan Brandt & Anke Breunig (eds.), Wilfrid Sellars and Twentieth-Century Philosophy. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 174–206.
    Two currently much discussed views about truth, truth pluralism and truth relativism, are found in Sellars’s writings. I show that his motivations for adoping these views are interestingly different from those shared by most of their recent advocates. First, I explain how Sellars comes to embrace a version of truth pluralism. I argue that his version overcomes a difficulty confronting pluralists, albeit at a serious cost. Then I argue that Sellars’s truth pluralism isn’t motivated by his interest in domains of (...)
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  11. The Points of Concepts: Their Types, Tensions, and Connections.Matthieu Queloz - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (8):1122-1145.
    In the literature seeking to explain concepts in terms of their point, talk of ‘the point’ of concepts remains under-theorised. I propose a typology of points which distinguishes practical, evaluative, animating, and inferential points. This allows us to resolve tensions such as that between the ambition of explanations in terms of the points of concepts to be informative and the claim that mastering concepts requires grasping their point; and it allows us to exploit connections between types of points to understand (...)
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  12. Beyond the Building Blocks Model.Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (3):139-140.
    This article is a commentary on Carey (2009) The Origin of Concepts. Carey rightly rejects the building blocks model of concept acquisition on the grounds that new primitive concepts can be learned via the process of bootstrapping. But new primitives can be learned by other acquisition processes that do not involve bootstrapping, and bootstrapping itself is not a unitary process. Nonetheless, the processes associated with bootstrapping provide important insights into conceptual change.
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  13. 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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  14. Analogical Insight: Toward Unifying Categorization and Analogy.Eric Dietrich - 2010 - Cognitive Processing 11 (4):331-.
    The purpose of this paper is to present two kinds of analogical representational change, both occurring early in the analogy-making process, and then, using these two kinds of change, to present a model unifying one sort of analogy-making and categorization. The proposed unification rests on three key claims: (1) a certain type of rapid representational abstraction is crucial to making the relevant analogies (this is the first kind of representational change; a computer model is presented that demonstrates this kind of (...)
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  15. Building on Sellars: Concept Formation and Scientific Realism. [REVIEW]Tanya Kelley - 2008 - Metascience 17 (2):257-259.
    Harold Brown has written an ambitious work, which traces the formation of concepts in individuals and cultures, examines case studies of concepts in calculus, mathematics, biology and related fields, summarises important philosophical works on the theory of concepts, and seeks to reconcile scientific realism with conceptual change. Brown considers himself a scientific realist but concedes that this very label is one that depends on a long history of concepts that came before, and may indeed be superseded as conceptual change continues. (...)
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  16. Linguistic Determinism and the Innate Basis of Number.Stephen Laurence & Eric Margolis - 2007 - In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen P. Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Foundations and the Future.
    Strong nativist views about numerical concepts claim that human beings have at least some innate precise numerical representations. Weak nativist views claim only that humans, like other animals, possess an innate system for representing approximate numerical quantity. We present a new strong nativist model of the origins of numerical concepts and defend the strong nativist approach against recent cross-cultural studies that have been interpreted to show that precise numerical concepts are dependent on language and that they are restricted to speakers (...)
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  17. Number and Natural Language.Stephen Laurence & Eric Margolis - 2005 - In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen P. Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents. New York: Oxford University Press New York. pp. 1--216.
    One of the most important abilities we have as humans is the ability to think about number. In this chapter, we examine the question of whether there is an essential connection between language and number. We provide a careful examination of two prominent theories according to which concepts of the positive integers are dependent on language. The first of these claims that language creates the positive integers on the basis of an innate capacity to represent real numbers. The second claims (...)
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  18. The Prepared Mind: The Role of Representational Change in Chance Discovery.Eric Dietrich, Arthur B. Markman & Michael Winkley - 2003 - In Yukio Ohsawa Peter McBurney (ed.), Chance Discovery by Machines. Springer-Verlag, pp. 208-230..
    Analogical reminding in humans and machines is a great source for chance discoveries because analogical reminding can produce representational change and thereby produce insights. Here, we present a new kind of representational change associated with analogical reminding called packing. We derived the algorithm in part from human data we have on packing. Here, we explain packing and its role in analogy making, and then present a computer model of packing in a micro-domain. We conclude that packing is likely used in (...)
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  19. Radical Concept Nativism.Stephen Laurence & Eric Margolis - 2002 - Cognition 86 (1):25-55.
    Radical concept nativism is the thesis that virtually all lexical concepts are innate. Notoriously endorsed by Jerry Fodor (1975, 1981), radical concept nativism has had few supporters. However, it has proven difficult to say exactly what’s wrong with Fodor’s argument. We show that previous responses are inadequate on a number of grounds. Chief among these is that they typically do not achieve sufficient distance from Fodor’s dialectic, and, as a result, they do not illuminate the central question of how new (...)
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  20. Incommensurability in Cognitive Guise.Muhammad Ali Khalidi - 1998 - Philosophical Psychology 11 (1):29 – 43.
    Philosophers and historians of science have made the claim that successive scientific theories are incommensurable, that is, that many or all of their concepts fail to coincide. This claim has been echoed by cognitive psychologists who have applied it to the successive conceptual schemes of young children, or of children and adults. This paper examines the psychological evidence for the claim and proposes ways of reinterpreting it which do not involve imputing incommensurability. An alternative approach to understanding conceptual change is (...)
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  21. How to Acquire a Concept.Eric Margolis - 1998 - Mind and Language 13 (3):347-369.
    In this paper, I develop a novel account of concept acquisition for an atomistic theory of concepts. Conceptual atomism is rarely explored in cognitive science because of the feeling that atomistic treatments of concepts are inherently nativistic. My model illustrates, on the contrary, that atomism does not preclude the learning of a concept.
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