Prototypes and conceptual analysis

Abstract

In this paper, I explore the implications of recent empirical research on concept representation for the philosophical enterprise of conceptual analysis. I argue that conceptual analysis, as it is commonly practiced, is committed to certain assumptions about the nature of our intuitive categorization judgments. I then try to show how these assumptions clash with contemporary accounts of concept representation in cognitive psychology. After entertaining an objection to my argument, I close by considering ways in which conceptual analysis might be altered to accord better with the empirical work.

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Thanks are due to John Bickle, Marian David, Terence Horgan, Stephen Stich, John Tienson, Paul Weithman and an anonymous referee for several helpful comments and suggestions. Earlier versions of this paper were presented at Central Michigan University, The University of Memphis, The University of Mississipi and The Second International Conference on Cognitive Science at San Sebastian, Spain. A great deal of useful feedback was provided by these audiences.

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Ramsey, W. Prototypes and conceptual analysis. Topoi 11, 59–70 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00768299

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Keywords

  • Natural Kind
  • Conceptual Analysis
  • Concept Representation
  • Target Concept
  • Classical View