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Furnishing the Mind : Concepts and Their Perceptual Basis - Jesse J. Prinz

Furnishing the Mind

Concepts and Their Perceptual Basis

Paperback

Published: 1st September 2004
For Ages: 18+ years old
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Western philosophy has long been divided between empiricists, who argue that human understanding has its basis in experience, and rationalists, who argue that reason is the source of knowledge. A central issue in the debate is the nature of concepts, the internal representations we use to think about the world. The traditional empiricist thesis that concepts are built up from sensory input has fallen out of favor. Mainstream cognitive science tends to echo the rationalist tradition, with its emphasis on innateness. In "Furnishing the Mind," Jesse Prinz attempts to swing the pendulum back toward empiricism. Prinz provides a critical survey of leading theories of concepts, including imagism, definitionism, prototype theory, exemplar theory, the theory theory, and informational atomism. He sets forth a new defense of concept empiricism that draws on philosophy, neuroscience, and psychology and introduces a new version of concept empiricism called proxytype theory. He also provides accounts of abstract concepts, intentionality, narrow content, and concept combination. In an extended discussion of innateness, he covers Noam Chomsky's arguments for the innateness of grammar, developmental psychologists' arguments for innate cognitive domains, and Jerry Fodor's argument for radical concept nativism.

"A defense of an updated empiricist theory of concepts, this book might also be described as a hybrid account that synthesizes the best insights of descriptivist, prototype, exemplar, and informational atomist accounts. Prinz's discussions of these other major accounts provide a clear overview of the field, both in philosophy and psychology." - S.W. Horst Choice

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Desiderata on a Theory of Conceptsp. 1
Introductionp. 1
Desideratap. 3
Do We Need Language Desiderata?p. 16
Previewp. 22
Traditional Philosophical Accountsp. 25
Imagismp. 25
Definitionismp. 32
Conclusionsp. 48
Similarity-Based Accountsp. 51
Prototype Theoryp. 51
Exemplar Theoryp. 63
Conclusionsp. 72
Maximal and Minimal Accountsp. 75
The Theory Theoryp. 75
Informational Atomismp. 89
Conclusionsp. 100
Empiricism Reconsideredp. 103
Introductionp. 103
What Is Concept Empiricism?p. 106
Why Empiricism?p. 122
Conclusionp. 137
Proxytype Theoryp. 139
From Percepts to Proxytypesp. 139
Publicityp. 152
Categorizationp. 161
Conclusionp. 164
The Perceptual Basisp. 165
The Scope Trialp. 165
Countering Counterexamplesp. 169
Conclusionp. 187
Overcoming Concept Nativismp. 189
Stances on Nativismp. 190
Arguments for Innatenessp. 198
Conclusionp. 235
Intentional Contentp. 237
Philosophical Theories of Intentionalityp. 237
Informational Semanticsp. 241
A Hybrid Theoryp. 249
Conclusionp. 260
Cognitive Contentp. 263
Narrow Approaches to Cognitive Contentp. 263
Proxytypes and Cognitive Contentp. 270
Nominal Content and Real Contentp. 276
Conclusionp. 282
Combining Conceptsp. 283
Confounded Combinationsp. 283
Compositionality: How Much Is Enough?p. 286
A Three-Stage Model of Concept Combinationp. 301
Conclusionp. 312
Conclusion: Back to Our Sensesp. 313
Notesp. 317
Referencesp. 327
Indexp. 347
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780262661850
ISBN-10: 0262661853
Series: Representation and Mind series
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 368
Published: 1st September 2004
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.5