Book

The Origin of Concepts

Susan Carey

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780195367638
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199867349 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195367638.001.0001
The Origin of Concepts

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Only human beings have a rich conceptual repertoire with concepts like tort, entropy, Abelian group, mannerism, icon, and deconstruction. How have humans constructed these concepts? And once they have been constructed by adults, how do children acquire them? While primarily focusing on the second question this book shows that the answers to both overlap substantially. The book begins by characterizing the innate starting point for conceptual development, namely systems of core cognition. Representations of core cognition are the output of dedicated input analyzers, as with perceptual representations, but these core representations differ from perceptual representations in having more abstract contents and richer functional roles. The book argues that the key to understanding cognitive development lies in recognizing conceptual discontinuities in which new representational systems emerge that have more expressive power than core cognition and are also incommensurate with core cognition and other earlier representational systems. Finally, the book fleshes out Quinian bootstrapping, a learning mechanism that has been repeatedly sketched in the literature on the history and philosophy of science. It demonstrates that Quinian bootstrapping is a major mechanism in the construction of new representational resources over the course of children's cognitive development.

Keywords: conceptual development; core cognition; Quinian bootstrapping

Book.  608 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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Table of Contents

Some Preliminaries in The Origin of Concepts

Chapter

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Core Object Cognition in The Origin of Concepts

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Core Cognition: Number in The Origin of Concepts

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Core Cognition: Agency in The Origin of Concepts

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Representations of <i>Cause</i> in The Origin of Concepts

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Language and Core Cognition in The Origin of Concepts

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Beyond Core Object Cognition in The Origin of Concepts

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