Prototypes as compositional components of concepts

Synthese 193 (9):2899–2927 (2016)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
The aim of this paper is to reconcile two claims that have long been thought to be incompatible: that we compositionally determine the meaning of complex expressions from the meaning of their parts, and that prototypes are components of the meaning of lexical terms such as fish, red, and gun. Hypotheses and are independently plausible, but most researchers think that reconciling them is a difficult, if not hopeless task. In particular, most linguists and philosophers agree that is not negotiable; so they tend to reject. Recently, there have been some attempts to reconcile these claims, but they all adopt an implausibly weak notion of compositionality. Furthermore, parties to this debate tend to fall into a problematic way of individuating prototypes that is too externalistic. In contrast, I propose that we can reconcile and if we adopt, instead, an internalist and pluralist conception of prototypes and a context-sensitive but strong notion of compositionality. I argue that each of this proposals is independently plausible, and that, when taken together, provide the basis for a satisfactory account of prototype compositionality.
Reprint years
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2016-01-22
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
The Big Book of Concepts.Murphy, Gregory L.
Attention and Effort.Kahneman, Daniel
Concepts and Cognitive Science.Laurence, Stephen & Margolis, Eric

View all 27 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Conceptual Centrality and Implicit Bias.Del Pinal, Guillermo & Spaulding, Shannon

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total downloads
133 ( #17,736 of 37,120 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
23 ( #15,101 of 37,120 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.