Conceptual Spaces as Philosophers’ Tools
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This paper gives an overview of the main philosophical applications to which conceptual spaces have been put. In particular, we show how they can be used to (i) resolve in a uniform way the so-called paradoxes of identity, which are basically problems concerning material constitution and change over time; (ii) answer one of the core questions in the debate concerning vagueness, to wit, the question of what a borderline case is, for instance, what makes some items neither clearly green nor clearly not green but borderline green; and, building on this answer, give a philosophically coherent account of the graded membership relation that is at the heart of fuzzy set theory; and (iii) provide a novel analysis of the concept of knowledge, which answers in a conservative way questions recently raised about the relationship between knowledge (or knowledge ascriptions) and the practical interests of putative knowers.
KeywordsSimilarity Prototypes Identity Vagueness Knowledge
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