Minds and Machines

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 41–56 | Cite as

Hybrid Extensional Prototype Compositionality



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.


Prototypes Compositionality Extensional compositionality Intensional compositionality 



I would like to thank Jussi Haukioja and Valtteri Arstila for helpful comments and discussions. This work was supported by the Academy of Finland (grants 214088 and 127567).


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TurkuTurkuFinland

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