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FT-254607-17

Daniel Aaron Weiskopf
Georgia State University Research Foundation, Inc. (Atlanta, GA 30302-3999)

The Philosophical Inquiry into the Nature of Concepts, Vehicles of Thought

Writing two chapters toward completion of a book on the nature of concepts.

Concepts are the building blocks of higher thought, particularly the sorts of thought that are involved in categorization, reasoning and inference, judgment and decision making, planning, and similar processes. This project defends a theory of concepts that portrays them as cognitive tools, biologically and culturally shaped to serve an array of practical and theoretical ends. The crucial fact about concepts is that they display striking adaptive fluidity, which enables human cognition to adjust itself to a wide range of domains, tasks, and contexts. While currently dominant approaches to concepts largely neglect or marginalize this phenomenon, exploring the origin, scope, and limits of this adaptive fluidity leads to a theory that has greater empirical adequacy and theoretical depth. This work will inform research in the philosophy of mind, psychology, and other fields, such as anthropology and the history of science, that study the processes by which humans categorize the world.

Project fields:
Philosophy of Science; Psychology

Program:
Summer Stipends

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2017 – 7/31/2017