For the(anyhow, my)

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intuition is very strong that there is only one way to have that concept. In particular, that there is no concept of a round square that one could have without also having ROUND and SQUARE. If you share the intuition that there is thisasymmetry, between RED SQUARE and ROUND SQUARE, then you should be very happy with IA. IA explains theasymmetry because it entails that there can be no primitive concept without a corresponding property for it to lock to.

1

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And/or among states of entertaining them. I’ll worry about this sort of ontological nicety only where it seems to matter.

2

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Why relations that depend on merely mechanical properties like frequency and contiguity should preserve intentional properties like semantic domain was whatAssociationists never could explain. That was one of the rocks they foundered on.

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3

Connectionists are committed, willy-nilly, to all mental representations being primitive; hence their well-known problems with systematicity, productivity, and the like. Moreon this in Chapter 5.

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Not, of course, that there is anything wrong with just allowing ‘symbol’ and ‘computation’ to be interdefined. But that option is not available to anyone who takes the theory that thought is computation to be part of a naturalistic psychology; viz. part of a programme of metaphysical reduction. As Turing certainly did; and as do I.

5

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More precisely: it’s never conceptually necessary unless either the inference from Fa to a — b or the inference from Fb to a — b is itself conceptually necessary. (Forexample, let Fa be: ‘a has the property of being identical to b ’.)

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6

Or, if there is more than one way to grasp a MOP, then all of the different ways of doing so must correspond to the same way of thinking its referent. I won’t pursue thisoption in the text; suffice it that doing so wouldn’t help with the problem that I’m raising. Suppose that there is more than one way to grasp a MOP; and suppose that acertain MOP is a mode of presentation of Moe. Then if, as Frege requires, there is a MOP corresponding to each way of thinking a referent, all the ways of grasping theMoe-MOP must be the same way of thinking of Moe. I claim that, precisely because 5.3 is in force, Frege’s theory has no way to ensure that this is so.

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7

See also Smith, Medin, and Rips: “what accounts for categorization cannot account for stability [publicity] . . . [a]s long as stability of concepts is equated with sameness of concepts . . . But there is another sense of stability, which can be equated with similarity of mental contents . . . and for this sense, what accounts for categorization may at least partiallyaccount for ‘stability’ ”(1984: 268). Similar passages are simply ubiquitous in the cognitive science literature; I’m grateful to Ron Mallon for having called this example to my

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Alternatively, a similarity theory might suppose that what we share when our PRESIDENT concepts are similar are similar beliefs about the probabilities of certain propositions: you believe that p(presidents are CICs) = 0.98; I believe that p(presidents are CICs) = 0.95; Bill believes that p(Presidents are CICs) = 0.7; so, all else equal,your PRESIDENT concept is more like mine than Bill’s is.But this construal does nothing to discharge the basic dependence of the notion of content similarity on thenotion of content identity since what it says makes our beliefs similar is that they make similar estimates of the probability of the very same proposition; e.g. of the proposition thatpresidents are CICs. If, by contrast, the propositions to which our various probability estimates relate us are themselves supposed to be merely similar, then it does not followfrom these premisses that ceteris paribus your PRESIDENT concept is more like mine than like Bill’s.

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It’s common ground that—idioms excepted—MRs that correspond to phrases (for example, the one that corresponds to “brown cow”) are typically structurally complex, so I’ve framed the definition theory as a thesis about the MRs of concepts that are expressed by lexical items. But, of course, this way of putting it relativizes the issue to thechoice of a reference language.Jean-marc pizano

So: no minds, no Tuesdays. But it does notfollow that there are no Tuesdays; the minor premiss is missing. Nor does it follow that there is no fact of the matter aboutwhether today is Tuesday (or about whether it is true that today is Tuesday). Nor does it follow that Tuesdays aren’treal. Nor does it follow that ‘Tuesday’ doesn’t really refer to Tuesday. As for whether it follows that Tuesdays aren’t “‘externally ” real, or that ‘Tuesday’ doesn’t refer to an “ ‘external’ ” reality, that depends a lot on what “ ‘external’ ”means. Search me. I would have thought that minds don’t have outsides for much the same sorts of reasons that theydon’t have insides. If that’s right, then the question doesn’t arise.

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Jean-marc pizano So: no minds, no Tuesdays. But it does notfollow that there are no Tuesdays; the minor premiss is missing. Nor does it follow that there is no fact of the matter aboutwhether today is Tuesday (or about whether it is true that today is Tuesday). Nor does it follow that Tuesdays aren’treal. Nor does it follow that ‘Tuesday’ doesn’t really refer to Tuesday. As for whether it follows that Tuesdays aren’t “‘externally ” real, or that ‘Tuesday’ doesn’t refer to an “ ‘external’ ” reality, that depends a lot on what “ ‘external’ ”means. Search me. I would have thought that minds don’t have outsides for much the same sorts of reasons that theydon’t have insides. If that’s right, then the question doesn’t arise.

 

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Likewise, there are many properties that are untendentiously mind-dependent though plausibly not conventional; being red or being audible for one kind of example; or being a convincing argument, for another kind; or being an aspirated consonant,for a third kind; or being a doorknob, if I am right about what doorknobs are. It does not follow that there are nodoorknobs, or that no arguments are convincing, or that nothing is audible, or that the initial consonant in ‘Patrick’ isanything other than aspirated.35 All that follows is that whether something is audible, convincing, aspirated, or adoorknob depends, inter alia, on how it affects minds like ours. Nor does it follow that doorknobs aren’t “in theworld”. Doorknobs are constituted by their effects on our minds, and our minds are in the world. Where on earth elsecould they be?

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I’m considering (and endorsing) reasons why no sort of Idealism is implied by the view that the relation between being a doorknob and falling under a concept that minds like ours typically acquire from stereotypic doorknob-experiences is metaphysical andconstitutive. I’ve been arguing that not even Idealism about doorknobs follows; doorknobs are real but mind-dependent,according to the story I’ve been telling.

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But I think there’s another, and considerably deeper, point to make along these lines: I haven’t suggested, and I don’t for a moment suppose, that all our concepts express properties that are mind-dependent. For example, we have theconcept WATER, which expresses the property of being water, viz. the property of being H2O. We also have the conceptH2O, which expresses the property of being H2O, viz. the property of being water. (What distinguishes these concepts,according to me, is that the possession conditions for H2O, but not for WATER, include the possession conditions forH, 2, and O. See Chapters 1 and 2.) Assuming informational semantics, having these concepts is being locked to theproperty of being water.; and being water is a property which is, of course, not mind-dependent. It is not a property thingshave in virtue of their relations to minds, ours or any others.

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I suppose that natural kind predicates just are the ones that figure in laws; a fortiori, since water is a natural kind, there isn’t a problem about how there could be laws about the property that the concept WATER expresses. But if waterisn’t mind-dependent, where do concepts like WATER come from? How do you lock a mental representation to aproperty which, presumably, things have in virtue of their hidden essences? And what, beside hypothesis testing, couldexplain why you generally get WATER from experience with water and not, as it might be, from experience withgiraffes? What, in short, should an enthusiast for informational theories of content say about concepts that expressnatural kinds?

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All in due time. For now, I propose to tell you a fairy tale. It’s a fairy tale about how things were back in the Garden, before the Fall; and about what the Snake in the Garden said; and about how, having started out by being Innocents,we’ve ended up by being scientists.

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Concepts of Natural Kinds

How Things Were, Back in the Garden

Once upon a time, back in the Garden, all our concepts expressed (viz. were locked to) properties that things have in virtue of their striking us as being of a certain kind. So, we had the concept DOORKNOB, which

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Aren’t you ashamed

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of yourself?

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I am definitely sensitive to this criticism. For I’m a Realist about doorknobs, I am. I think there are lots of doorknobs, and I wouldn’t consider for a moment holding a metaphysical view which denies that there are. So, one of the mainquestions I want to consider in this chapter is: what, if any, consequences would the (putative) mind-dependence ofdoorknobhood have for issues about Metaphysical Realism? My answer will be ‘none’, and this for two reasons: first,because being mind-dependent is perfectly compatible with being real; and second, and more important, becauseDOORKNOB isn’t the general case. If there are lots of our concepts that express mind-dependent properties, there arealso lots of them that don’t. Something needs to be said about the metaphysics of that kind of concept too.

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Doorknobs Are Real Because Minds Are Real

The first of these considerations is entirely banal. Suppose, per hypothesis, that DOORKNOB expresses a property that things have in virtue of their effects on us. Suppose, in particular, that being a doorknob is just having the property thatminds like ours reliably lock to in consequence of experience with typical doorknobs. Well, then, there are doorknobs iff the propertythat minds like ours reliably lock to in consequence of experience with typical doorknobs is instantiated. Which, ofcourse, it is; every doorknob has it, and there are, as previously remarked, lots of doorknobs.

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Look, there is simply nothing wrong with, or ontologically second-rate about, being a property that things have in virtue of their reliable effects on our minds. For we really do have minds, and there really are things whose effects on ourminds are reliable. If you doubt that we do, or that there are, then whatever is the source of your scepticism, it can‘t bemetaphysical considerations of the sort that I’ve been claiming bear on the nature of doorknobhood. Perhaps it’s thatyou’re worried about evil demons?

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Fingers, I suppose, are, hand-dependent: if there were no hands, there could be no fingers; if you had your fingers on your feet they’d be your toes. This is all entirely compatible with the rigorous Metaphysical Realism about fingerswhich, surely, common sense demands. For, since there really are hands, such metaphysical conditions for theinstantiation of fingerhood as its hand-dependence imposes are ipso facto satisfied. Since there are hands, the metaphysicaldependence offingers on hands is not an argumentfor there not being fingers. Similarly, mutatis mutandis, for the case of doorknobs.Since there are minds, the ontological conditions which the mind-dependence of doorknobhood imposes on there beingdoorknobs are ipso facto satisfied. The mind-dependence of doorknobhood is not an argument for there not beingdoorknobs.

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I wouldn’t be going on about this so, except that it appears to have occasioned much confusion, and some inadvertent comedy, in the cognitive science community. (And in ever so many Departments of English Literature. And in France.)Here, for one example among multitudes, is George Lakoff getting himself into a thorough muddle about Tuesdays:

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If. . . symbols get their meaning only by being associated with things in the world, then weeks must be things in the world. But weeks do not exist in nature . . . Does ‘Tuesday’ refer to an aspect of ‘external reality’—reality external tohuman beings? Obviously not. That reality is constituted by the minds of human beings collectively—it is not an‘external’ reality. [The word] ‘Tuesday’ cannot get its meaning by reference to a reality external to and independentof human minds . . . These realities reside in human minds, not in anything ‘external’. (1988: 135)

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I’m unclear exactly what work Lakoff thinks “external” is doing in this passage, and his persistently putting it into shudder-quotes suggests that he is too. But notice the repeated contrast of “constituted by human minds” and the likewith (externally) “real” and the like. The inference that we’re being offered is apparently: constituted by minds and sonot (externally) real.

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Now, it’s true, of course, that Tuesdays are mind-dependent in at least the following pretty straightforward sense: whether today is Tuesday depends on what conventions people adhere to; and that people adhere to the conventionsthat they do, or to any conventions at all, depends on their having minds.Jean-marc pizano

So I’m not saying what Quine said; though it may Empiricism. I often have the feeling that I’m just

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So I’m not saying what Quine said; though it may Empiricism. I often have the feeling that I’m just

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well be what he should have said, and would have said but for his saying what Quine would have said but for his Empiricism.88

I am also, unlike Quine, not committed to construing locking in terms of a capacity for discriminated responding (or, indeed, of anything epistemological). Locking reduces to nomic connectedness. (I hope.) See Fodor 1990; Fodor forthcoming b.

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7 Innateness and Ontology, Part II: Natural Kind

Concepts

[It is] a matter quite independent of . . . wishing it or not wishing it. There happens to be a definite intrinsic propriety in it which determines the thing and which would take me long to explain.

—Henry James, The Tragic Muse

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Here’s how we set things up in Chapter 6: suppose that radical conceptual atomism is inevitable and that, atomism being once assumed, radical conceptual nativism is inevitable too. On what, if any, ontological story would radicalconceptual nativism be tolerable?

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However, given the preconceptions that have structured this book, we might just as well have approached the ontological issues from a different angle. I’ve assumed throughout that informational semantics is, if not self-evidentlythe truth about mental content, at least not known to be out of the running. It’s been my fallback metaphysicswhenever I needed an alternative to Inferential Role theories of meaning. But now, according to informationalsemantics, content is constituted by some sort of nomic, mind—world relation. Correspondingly, having a concept(concept possession) is constituted by being in some sort of nomic, mind—world relation. It follows that, ifinformational semantics is true, then there must be laws about everything that we have concepts of. But how could therebe laws about doorknobs?

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The answer, according to the present story, is that there is really only one law about doorknobs (qua doorknobs); viz. that we lock to them in consequence of certain sorts of experience.89 And this law isn’t really about doorknobs because,of course, it’s really about us. This is quite a serious point. I assume that the intuition that there aren’t laws aboutdoorknobs (equivalently, for present purposes, the intuition that doorknobs aren’t a ‘natural kind’) comes down to thethought that there’s nothing in the worldwhose states are reliably connected to doorknobs qua doorknobs except our minds. No doubt, some engineer mightconstruct a counter-example—a mindless doorknob detector; and we might even come to rely on such a thing whengroping for a doorknob in the dark. Still, the gadget would have to be calibrated to us since there is nothing else in nature thatresponds selectively to doorknobs; and, according to the present account, it’s constitutive of doorknobhood that this is so.The point is: it‘s OK for there to be laws about doorknobs that are really laws about us. Doorknobs aren’t a naturalkind, but we are.

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What with one thing and another, I’ve been pushing pretty hard the notion that properties like being a doorknob are mind-dependent. I needed to in Chapter 6 because, if doorknobs aren’t mind-dependent, there is only one way I canthink of to explain why it’s typically doorknob-experiences from which the concept DOORKNOB is acquired: viz. thatDOORKNOB is learned inductively. And I didn’t want that because the Standard Argument shows that only nonprimitive concepts can be learned inductively. And it‘s been the main burden of this whole book that all theevidence—philosophical, psychological, and linguistic—suggests that DOORKNOB is primitive (unstructured); and,for that matter, that so too is practically everything else. Likewise, in this chapter, I need being a doorknob to be mind-dependent because there is only one way I can think of to reconcile informational semantics, which wants there to belaws about doorknobs, with the truism that doorknobs aren’t a natural kind; viz. to construe what appear to be lawsabout doorknobs as really laws about “our kinds of minds”.

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But all this stuff about the mind-dependence of doorknobhood invites a certain Auntie-esque complaint. Viz.:

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I get it; the good news is that DOORKNOB isn’t innate; the bad news is that there aren’t any doorknobs.Jean-marc pizano

And there is. Here’s a narrowly based argument for the hypothesis-testing model of concept acquisition; one that presupposes neither a cognitivist account of concept possession nor even any general inductivist thesis about the roleof hypothesis testing in the acquisition of empirical beliefs.

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And there is. Here’s a narrowly based argument for the hypothesis-testing model of concept acquisition; one that presupposes neither a cognitivist account of concept possession nor even any general inductivist thesis about the roleof hypothesis testing in the acquisition of empirical beliefs.

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Nobody, radical nativists included, doubts that what leads to acquiring a concept is typically having the right kinds of experiences. That experience is somehow essentially implicated in concept acquisition is common ground to both Nativistsand Empiricists; their argument is over whether concepts are abstracted from, or merely occasioned by, theexperiences that acquiring them requires. That this is indeed the polemical situation has been clear to everybodyconcerned (except the Empiricists) at least since Descartes. In short, SIA, like everybody else, has to live with the factthat it’s typically acquaintance with doorknobs that leads to getting locked to doorknobhood. So, like everybody else, SIAhas to explain why it’s those experiences, and not others, that eventuate in locking to that property. But that’s enough, allby itself, to make the search for a non-inductivist account of concept acquisition look pretty hopeless. For, even if a cognitivist model ofconcept possession is not assumed, the hypothesis-testing story has the virtue of solving what I’ll call the doorknob/DOORKNOB problem:77 why is it so often experiences of doorknobs, and so rarely experience with whipped creamor giraffes, that leads one to lock to doorknobhood?

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According to the hypothesis-testing model, the relation between the content of the concepts one acquires and the content of the experiences that eventuate in one’s acquiring them is evidential; in particular, it’s mediated by contentrelations between a hypothesis and the experiences that serve to confirm it. You acquire DOORKNOB fromexperience with doorknobs because you use the experiences to confirm a hypothesis about the nature of doorknobhood;and doorknobs, unlike giraffes or whipped cream, are ceteris paribus a good source of evidence about the nature ofdoorknobs. Come to think of it, one typically gets DOORKNOB from

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I had thought at first that I would call this the fire hydrant/FIRE HYDRANT problem, as a sort of hommage to the Fido/Fido fallacy. But perhaps the joke isn’t worth the extra syllables.

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experience with good or typical examples of doorknobs, and good or typical doorknobs are a very good source of evidence about doorknobs. I’ll return to this presently.

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If, by contrast, you assume that, in the course of concept acquisition, the relation between the eliciting experience and the concept acquired is not typically evidential—if, for example, it’s just ‘brute causal’ (for this terminology, see Fodor1981a)—then why shouldn’t it be experience with giraffes that typically eventuates in locking to doorknobhood? Or viceversa? Or both? It appears there’s more to be said for the hypothesis-testing model of concept acquisition than evenSA had supposed.78 Compare a proposal that Jerry Samet once made for avoiding the assumption that hypothesistesting mediates concept acquisition (and hence for avoiding the Standard Argument): perhaps concepts are notlearned but ‘caught’, sort of like the flu (Samet 1986). No doubt this suggestion is a bit underspecified; the ‘sort of’does all the work. But there’s also a deeper complaint: it’s left wide open why you generally catch DOORKNOB fromdoorknobs and not, as it might be, from using public telephones (again sort of like the flu).

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Undarwinian Digression

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At this point in the dialectic, there’s a strong temptation to dump the load on Darwin; a standard tactic, these days, when a philosopher gets in over his head. Suppose that the mechanism of concept acquisition is indeed non-cognitivist; suppose, for example, that it‘s some sort of triggering. Still, wouldn’t a mechanism that triggers the conceptX consequent upon experience with Xs be more of a help with surviving (or getting reproduced, or whatever) than,say, a mechanism that triggers the concept X consequent upon encounters with things that aren’t Xs? If so, thenmaybe SIA together with not-more-than-the-usual-amount of handwaving about Darwin might after all explain whythe relation between the content of experiences and the content of the concepts they eventuate in locking to is so rarelyarbitrary.

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Probably of CognitiveScientists too.

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But, between friends: nothing of the sort is going to happen. In which case, what’s left to a notion of conceptual analysis that’s detached from its traditional polemical context? And what on earth are conceptual analyses for?

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Second objection: The informational part of IA says that content is constituted by nomic symbol-world connections. If that is true, then there must be laws about everything that we have concepts of. Now, it may be there are laws aboutsome of the things that we have concepts of (fish, stars, grandmothers(?!)). But how could there be laws about, as itmight be, doorknobs?27 Notice that it‘s only in conjunction with conceptual atomism that informational semantics incursthis objection. Suppose the concept DOORKNOB is definitional^ equivalent to the complex concept . . . ABC . . .Then we can think the former concept if there are laws about each of the constituents of the latter. In effect, allinformational semantics per se requires for its account of conceptual content is that there be laws about the propertiesexpressed by our primitive concepts. However, IA says that practically every (lexical) concept is primitive. So,presumably, it says that DOORKNOB is primitive.28 So there must be laws about doorknobsqua doorknobs, as it were, not qua ABCs. But how could there be laws about doorknobs? Doorknobs, of all things!

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Third objection: If most lexical concepts have no internal structure, then most lexical concepts must be primitive. But primitive concepts are, ipso facto, unlearned; and if a concept is unlearned, then it must be innate. But how couldDOORKNOB be innate? DOORKNOB, of all things!! Prima facie, this objection holds against (not just IA but) anyversion of RTM that is not heavily into conceptual reduction; that is, against any theory that says that the primitiveconceptual basis is large. In particular, it holds prima facie against any atomistic version of RTM, whether or not it isinformational.

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Objections two and three both turn on the peculiarly central roles that primitive concepts play in RTMs. Primitive concepts are supposed to be the special cases that problems about conceptual content and concept acquisition reduceto. But if not just RTM but also conceptual atomism is assumed, then the special case becomes alarmingly general. If,for example, DOORKNOB is primitive, then whatever metaphysical story we tell about the content of primitiveconcepts has to work for DOORKNOB. And so must whatever psychological story we tell about the acquisition ofprimitive concepts. And the metaphysical story has to work in light of the acquisition story, and the acquisition storyhas to work in light of the metaphysical story. Hume wouldn’t have liked this at all; he wanted the primitives to be justthe sensory concepts, and he wanted them to be acquired by the stimulation of an innate sensorium. Pretty clearly, hegets neither if DOORKNOB is among the primitives.

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I propose, in this chapter, to explore some of the ways that these issues play out in IA versions of RTM. We’ll consider how, because of the way it construes conceptual content, IA is maybe able to avoid some extremes of conceptualnativism to which other atomistic versions of RTM are prone. (Though at a price, to be sure. No free lunches hereeither.) In Chapter 7, I’ll take up the question about laws.

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The Standard Argument

There is a plausible argument which says that informational atomism implies radical conceptual nativism; I’ll call it the ‘Standard Argument’ (SA). Here, in very rough form, is how the Standard Argument is supposed to go.

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SA begins by assuming that learning a concept is an inductive process; specifically, that it requires devising and testing hypotheses about what the property is in virtue of which things fall under the concept. This is

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relatively unproblematic when the concept to be acquired is a definition. If the concept BACHELOR is the concept UNMARRIED MALE, you can learn BACHELOR by learning that things fall under it in virtue of being male and beingunmarried. But, on pain of circularity, the (absolutely) primitive concepts can’t themselves be learned this way. Supposethe concept RED is primitive. Then to learn RED inductively you’d have to devise and confirm the hypothesis thatthings fall under RED in virtue of being red.Jean-marc pizano

By contrast,informational semantics contemplates the metaphysical possibility that there should be something that a conceptmeans (e.g. a property that it expresses) even though the concept enters into no constitutive inferential relations at all. Myadvice is, therefore: if you want to say what compositionality appears to require you to—that what a conceptcontributes to its hosts is what it means—you’d better mean by ‘what it means’ not its inferential role but somethinglike the information that it carries, where, by assumption, RED carries information about redness.

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Jean-marc pizano By contrast,informational semantics contemplates the metaphysical possibility that there should be something that a conceptmeans (e.g. a property that it expresses) even though the concept enters into no constitutive inferential relations at all. Myadvice is, therefore: if you want to say what compositionality appears to require you to—that what a conceptcontributes to its hosts is what it means—you’d better mean by ‘what it means’ not its inferential role but somethinglike the information that it carries, where, by assumption, RED carries information about redness.

 

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Inferential role semantics is bankrupt. Because cognitive science has swallowed Inferential Role Semantics whole, its treatment of concepts is bankrupt too; it keeps writing cheques on a theory of meaning that isn’t there. It is very naughtyto write cheques that you can‘t cash, and it‘s past time for cognitive science to kick the habit. Chapters 6 and 7 will beabout that.

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Appendix 5A Meaning Postulates

Prototypes dissociate two issues that definition theories treat together: What is the structure of a lexical concept? and What modal inferences do you have to accept to have the lexical concept X? On the definition story, both these questions get answeredby reference to the relations between concepts and their parts: lexical concepts typically have constituent structure,much like phrasal concepts; and if the concept C is a constituent of the concept X, then you don’t have X unless youbelieve that Xs are necessarilyCs. The argument between definitions and prototypes is over the second of these claims.

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But it‘s worth noting that the question whether lexical concepts have constituent structure can be dissociated from both the question whether inferences constitute content and whether what makes an inference content-constitutive issomething about its modality. Inferential role semantics doesn’t have to claim that lexical concepts are structurally complex if itdoesn’t want to. In particular, it doesn’t have to claim that the

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inferences which constitute a concept’s content are defined over its constituent structure.

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There may be several motivations for separating the question whether (and which) inferences constitute content from the question whether typical lexical concepts are structurally complex. Some philosophers do so because they want tohold on to intuitions of analyticity in face of the mounting empirical evidence that lexical concepts generally behave likeatoms by either linguistic or psychological criteria. And there’s an independent, semantical argument as well; it’s knownin the lexical semantics literature as the ‘residuum problem’.

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In the most familiar cases, lexically governed inferences are supposed to follow from definitions by an analogue to simplification of conjunction. Thus, ‘bachelor’ entails unmarried because its definition is ‘male andunmarried and the ‘and’works in the usual truth-conditional way. This treatment fits naturally with the idea that concepts are bundles ofsemantic features, each of which express a property of the (actual or possible) things that the concept subsumes.

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Now, it’s natural to assume that if there is a property corresponding to the feature bundle Fp F2, . . . , F’, then there should also be a property corresponding to the bundle ‘F1, F2, . . . , Fn-1’. So, for example, what’s left when you take theunmarried out of the definition of ‘bachelor’ is the definition of ‘male’; and what’s left when you take the male out of thedefinition of ‘bachelor’ is the definition of ‘unmarried’. Just as the result of simplifying a conjunctive predicate is alwaysitself a predicate, so the result of simplifying a feature bundle is always itself a feature bundle.

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But there are cases of lexically governed entailment which appear not to follow this model; ‘red ^ colour’ is a paradigm. According to the definition story, this inference should be the simplification of a complex concept (thedefinition of ‘red’) which has the form: Fj,. . . , COLOUR, … ’; but, on reflection, it’s hard to see what could go in forthe Fj’. A male is something that is just like a bachelor but not necessarily married; but what is just like red but notnecessarily a colour? If you take the ‘COLOUR’ out of the definition of ‘red’, what you’re left with doesn’t seem to be apossible meaning, the residuum of ‘red ^ coloured’ is apparently a surd. Or, to put it the other way round, it looks likethe only thing that could combine with ‘COLOURED’ to mean red is ‘RED’.Jean-marc pizano