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defining properties


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In componential theory, a set of attributes or features (1) that specify the meaning of a particular concept, each a necessary or essential attribute of any instance of the concept, the entire set constituting a sufficient definition of the concept. This classical interpretation of concepts was undermined by the Austrian-born British philosopher Ludwig (Josef Johann) Wittgenstein (1889–1951), who showed in his Philosophical Investigations (1953, paragraph 66) that concepts such as game or chair lack defining properties. See feature theory, prototype theory. Compare characteristic features.

Subjects: Psychology.


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