Article

The Scope of the Conceptual

Stephen Laurence and Eric Margolis

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Cognitive Science

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780195309799
Published online May 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195309799.013.0013

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The Scope of the Conceptual

Show Summary Details

Preview

This article explains different views on concepts, which are among the most fundamental constructs in cognitive science. Michael Dummett argues that nonhuman animals are not capable of full-fledged conceptual thought but only a diminished form of thought, which he calls, proto-thought. Human beings can remove themselves from the moment and can rise above the confined world of current perceptions because of their linguistic abilities. Donald Davidson, a contemporary philosopher, denies that animals are capable of conceptual thought and claim that conceptual content requires a rich inferential network. Donald Davidson made an argument against animals having conceptual thought. Davidson's original formulation of the argument begins with the claim that having a belief requires having the concept of a belief but adds that having the concept of belief requires possession of a natural language. It follows, then, that to have a belief requires facility with natural language. The characterization of the conceptual/nonconceptual distinction that is implicit in Davidson's metacognitive argument is a complex one involving a capacity for belief about beliefs, a concept of belief, and concepts of truth and falsity. Both Robert Brandom and John McDowell argued that conceptual thought requires more than a capacity for detection. They claim that conceptual thought requires the ability to appreciate the reasons that would justify a given concept's application and use, and this, in turn, is inherently a social practice that is dependent on natural language

Keywords: concepts; conceptual/nonconceptual distinction; mental states; Peacocke's characterization; Detection; Kantian spontaneity

Article.  13017 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Mind

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.