Concepts and Cognitive Science

In Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence (eds.), Concepts: Core Readings. MIT Press. pp. 3-81 (1999)
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Abstract

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.

Author Profiles

Eric Margolis
University of British Columbia
Stephen Laurence
University of Sheffield

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