The multimedia mind: an analysis of Prinz on concepts
In his new book, Furnishing the mind , Jesse Prinz argues that a new form of empiricism can break the logjam that currently frustrates attempts to develop a theory of concepts. I argue that Prinz's new way with empiricism is ultimately unsuccessful. In maintaining that all cognition is reducible to perceptual constructs, Prinz is unable to provide an effective model of the nature of individual concepts or their role in thought. Three major problems are addressed in reverse order. Prinz does not show how abstract concepts can be reduced to perceptual states. His commitment to a modal theory of cognition requires the existence of a rich nonperceptual linking system that cannot be accounted for within his empiricism. Finally, his commitment to what he calls proxytypes is not compatible with the individuation of individual concepts. As a consequence, it is impossible to delineate the content of individual thoughts.
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