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Concepts are not a natural kind

Machery, E (2005) Concepts are not a natural kind. Philosophy of Science, 72 (3). 444 - 467. ISSN 0031-8248

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In cognitive psychology, concepts are those bodies of knowledge that are stored in long-term memory and are used by default in human beings' higher cognitive processes (categorization, inductive und deductive reasoning, etc.). Most psychologists of concepts assume that these mental representations share many scientifically important properties, and the psychology of concepts is expected to describe those properties. Psychologists assume thereby that concepts constitute a natural kind. I call this assumption the natural kind assumption. This article challenges the natural kind assumption. It is argued that a growing body of evidence suggests that concepts do not constitute a natural kind. Hence, the notion of concept is inappropriate, if one aims at formulating scientifically relevant inductive generalizations about the human mind. Copyright 2005 by the Philosphy of Science Association. All rights reserved.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Machery, Emachery@pitt.eduMACHERY
Date: 1 July 2005
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophy of Science
Volume: 72
Number: 3
Page Range: 444 - 467
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1086/498473
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History and Philosophy of Science
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0031-8248
Article Type: Review
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2013 16:10
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 15:59


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