Having Concepts: a Brief Refutation of the Twentieth Century

Author: Fodor, Jerry

Source: Mind & Language, Volume 19, Number 1, February 2004 , pp. 29-47(19)

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

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A certain ‘pragmatist’ view of concept possession has defined the mainstream of Anglophone philosophy of language/mind for decades: namely, that to have the concept C is to be able to distinguish Cs from non‐Cs, and/or to recognize the validity of certain C‐involving inferences. The present paper offers three arguments why no such account could be viable. An alternative ‘Cartesian’ view is outlined, according to which having C is being able to think about Cs ‘as such’. Some consequences of the proposed paradigm shift are briefly considered.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0017.2004.00245.x

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, State University of New Jersey, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2004

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