, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 41-56
Date: 09 Oct 2010

Hybrid Extensional Prototype Compositionality

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Abstract

It has been argued that prototypes cannot compose, and that for this reason concepts cannot be prototypes (Osherson and Smith in Cognition 9:35–58, 1981; Fodor and Lepore in Cognition 58:253–270, 1996; Connolly et al. in Cognition 103:1–22, 2007). In this paper I examine the intensional and extensional approaches to prototype compositionality, arguing that neither succeeds in their present formulations. I then propose a hybrid extensional theory of prototype compositionality, according to which the extension of a complex concept is determined as a function of what triggers its constituent prototypes. I argue that the theory escapes the problems traditionally raised against extensional theories of compositionality.