Practical concepts and productive reasoning

Synthese 199 (3-4):7659-7688 (2021)
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Can we think of a task in a distinctively practical way? Can there be practical concepts? In recent years, epistemologists, philosophers of mind, as well as philosophers of psychology have appealed to practical concepts in characterizing the content of know-how or in explaining certain features of skilled action. However, reasons for positing practical concepts are rarely discussed in a systematic fashion. This paper advances a novel argument for the psychological reality of practical concepts that relies on evidence for a distinctively productive kind of reasoning.

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Carlotta Pavese
Cornell University


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