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The explanatory role of concepts

Taylor, Samuel D., Vosgerau, Gottfried (2019) The explanatory role of concepts. Erkenntnis, . Article Number 19001430. ISSN 0165-0106. E-ISSN 1572-8420. (doi:10.1007/s10670-019-00143-0) (KAR id:83123)

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Machery (Doing without concepts, Oxford University Press, New York, 2009) and Weiskopf (Synthese 169:145–173, 2009) argue that the kind concept is a natural kind if and only if it plays an explanatory role in cognitive scientific explanations. In this paper, we argue against this explanationist approach to determining the natural kind-hood of concept. We first demonstrate that hybrid, pluralist, and eliminativist theories of concepts afford the kind concept different explanatory roles. Then, we argue that we cannot decide between hybrid, pluralist, and eliminativist theories of concepts, because each endorses a different, but equally viable, specification of the explananda of cognitive science. It follows that an explanationist approach to determining the natural kind-hood of concept fails, because there is no consensus about whether or not concept should be afforded an explanatory role in our best cognitive scientific explanations. We conclude by considering what our critique of explanationism could imply for further discussions about the explanatory role of concepts in cognitive science.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s10670-019-00143-0
Uncontrolled keywords: concepts
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Samuel Taylor
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2020 11:13 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:15 UTC
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Taylor, Samuel D.:
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