The making of human concepts: A final look

Denis Mareschal, Paul C. Quinn and Stephen E. G. Lea

in The Making of Human Concepts

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780199549221
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191724152 | DOI:
The making of human concepts: A final look

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This chapter presents some concluding thoughts from the authors. It argues that there is nothing unique about the distinct components that contribute to the making of human concepts, when these are considered individually. What is unique is their combined presence in a single species. Of particular note is the long developmental period that allows human infants to gradually acquire knowledge of the world and the rich social tapestry in which the child is embedded and that actively tutors the child to acquire species-relevant knowledge. Our current concepts are the outcome of tens of thousands of years of this process and reflect discoveries made at the societal level (such as language, writing, mathematics), each of which incrementally augments the conceptual abilities of successive generations of humans.

Keywords: concepts; learning; evolution; infants; conceptual learning

Chapter.  4134 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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