Concepts: Core Readings / Edition 1

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Concepts: Core Readings traces the develoment of one of the most active areas of investigation in cognitive science.

This comprehensive volume brings together the essential background readings from philosophy, psychology, and linguistics, while providing a broad sampling of contemporary research. The first part of the book centers around the fall of the Classical Theory of Concepts in the face of attacks by W.V.O. Quine, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Eleanor Rosch, and others, emphasizing the emergence and development of the Prototype Theory and the controversies it spurred. The second part surveys a broad range of contemporary theories — Neoclassical Theories, the Prototype Theory,the Theory-Theory, and Conceptual Atomism.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"This volume has all the great papers on concepts, with invaluablecommentary by the editors. The profound and fascinating essays in thecollection are indispensable for anyone interested in the human mind." Steven Pinker, Professor and Director, Center forCognitiveNeuroscience, MIT, and author of The Language Instinct and How the Mind Works
Steven Pinker
This volume has all the great papers on concepts, with invaluable commentary by the editors. The profound and fascinating essays in the collection are indispensable for anyone interested in the human mind.
Stephen Schiffer
The problem with concepts is one of the most important and topical issues in philosophy and psychology. To my knowledge — and to my even greater surprise — Margolis and Laurence's collection is the first exclusively on concepts, not to mention the first that will appeal, by virtue of its outstanding interdisciplinary selections, to philosophers and psychologist. Concepts represents the leading positions on concepts, and its distinguished list of authors include many of the most important thinkers in this field. This is a first-rate anthology.
Martin Davies
Eric Margolis and Stephen Laurence have brought together key contributions on concepts from philosophers, psychologist, and linguists and have included an Editors' Introduction that serves as an informative guide to the area.

This book provides students and researchers in the cognitive disciplines with the resources that they need in order to tackle the hard questions about concepts.

Barbara Landau
The papers in this volume address the key philosophical and psychological issues involved in the nature of concepts and their acquisition. They represent a broad and deep sweep of the field, and should be required reading for any cognitive scientist interested in concepts.
Tim Crane
The traditional debate among philosophers and psychologists about the nature of concepts has recently been invigorated by interdisciplinary work in cognitive science. Yet until now, there has not been a book which collects together the most important classic and contemporary work on concepts in all these areas of research. Concepts: Core Readings is the book we have been waiting for. The selection of articles is excellent, and the introductory essay by Laurence and Margolis is the best account available of the current state of research on concepts. This is an absolutely indispensable book for anyone with an interest in concepts.
Stephen P. Stich
The debate about the nature of concepts has been a central theme in cognitive science for a quarter of a century. This book, with an excellent introduction, ample historical material and wisely chosen cutting-edge papers,provides an unsurpassable overview of the debate. It is the book to use in any sophisticated course on concepts.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262631938
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 7/9/1999
  • Series: Bradford Books Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 712
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric Margolis is Professor of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia.

Margolis and Laurence are coeditors of Concepts: Core Readings (MIT Press).

Stephen Laurence is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield.

Margolis and Laurence are coeditors of Concepts: Core Readings (MIT Press).

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Ch. 1 Concepts and Cognitive Science 3
Pt. I Origins of the Contemporary Study of Concepts 83
The Classical Theory 85
Ch. 2 Euthyphro 87
Ch. 3 The Process of Concept Attainment 101
Ch. 4 On the General Character of Semantic Theory 125
Philosophical Skepticism about the Classical Theory 151
Ch. 5 Two Dogmas of Empiricism 153
Ch. 6 Philosophical Investigations, sections 65-78 171
The Probabilistic Turn: Stereotypes, Prototypes, Exemplars 175
Ch. 7 Is Semantics Possible? 177
Ch. 8 Principles of Categorization 189
Ch. 9 The Exemplar View 207
Critical Reactions to the Probabilistic Turn 223
Ch. 10 What Some Concepts Might Not Be 225
Ch. 11 On the Adequacy of Prototype Theory as a Theory of Concepts 261
Ch. 12 Concepts and Stereotypes 279
Pt. II Current Theories and Research 301
Neoclassical Theories 303
Ch. 13 What Is a Concept, That a Person May Grasp It? 305
Ch. 14 Precis of A Study of Concepts 335
Ch. 15 Resisting Primitive Compulsions 339
Ch. 16 Can Possession Conditions Individuate Concepts? 345
Rethinking Prototypes 353
Ch. 17 Combining Prototypes: A Selective Modification Model 355
Ch. 18 Cognitive Models and Prototype Theory 391
The Theory-Theory 423
Ch. 19 The Role of Theories in Conceptual Coherence 425
Ch. 20 Knowledge Acquisition: Enrichment or Conceptual Change? 459
Conceptual Atomism 489
Ch. 21 Against Definitions 491
Ch. 22 Information and Representation 513
Ch. 23 A Common Structure for Concepts of Individuals, Stuffs and Real Kinds: More Mama, More Milk, and More Mouse 525
Ch. 24 How to Acquire a Concept 549
Concept Possession in Infants and Children 569
Ch. 25 The Object Concept Revisited: New Directions in the Investigation of Infants' Physical Knowledge 571
Ch. 26 Insides and Essences: Early Understandings of the Non-Obvious 613
Index 639
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