Regaining Composure: A Defence Of Prototype Compositionality.

Jesse J. Prinz

in The Oxford Handbook of Compositionality

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199541072
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Regaining Composure: A Defence Of Prototype Compositionality.

Show Summary Details


Prototype theory emerged out of two main sources. First, research on perceptual category learning suggested that people spontaneously abstract representations of the statistical central tendency when they are exposed to a range of similar images. The abstracted representation corresponds to the average or prototype for a range of training images and can be used to classify future examples. The second source was philosophical. On some versions, the prototype features are organized into structured lists, which divide into such subheadings as physical attributes, means of locomotion, and perhaps diet. In a connectionist framework, a prototype might be a collection of weighted feature-representing nodes, or, more graphically, points in a multidimensional space, whose dimensions correspond to nodes in the network. On an empiricist approach, prototype features might be interpreted as components of structured mental images, and imagistic simulations of prototype activities.

Keywords: prototype theory; abstract representations; prototype features; physical attributes; mental images

Article.  8000 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Semantics

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.