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    The making of human concepts: a final look

    Mareschal, Denis and Quinn, P.C. and Lea, S.E.G. (2010) The making of human concepts: a final look. In: Mareschal, Denis and Quinn, P.C. and Lea, S.E.G. (eds.) The Making of Human Concepts. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 387-394. ISBN 9780199549221.

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    This chapter argues for three points: First, it denies that nonhuman animals or human infants lack the capacity to represent abstract concepts. In particular, it argues that the initial state includes several systems of core cognition with long evolutionary histories. Core cognition includes abstract concepts with conceptual content. Second, nonetheless, there are discontinuities in conceptual development at two different levels of generality. At a general level, most human concepts differ from those embedded in core cognition in many ways, and, at a specific level, core cognition does not have the resources to represent most specific abstract concepts. Third, it characterizes one class of learning mechanism that underlies the discontinuities of interest: Quinian bootstrapping. With this analysis in hand, the chapter speculates on some aspects of conceptual representations unique to humans. These points are illustrated with a single case study of the making of the human capacity to represent natural number.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): abstract concepts, core cognition, conceptual development, quinian bootstrapping, conceptual representations, natural number
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Educational Neuroscience, Centre for, Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2011 15:42
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 16:50


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