The red herring and the pet fish: why concepts still can't be prototypes

  title={The red herring and the pet fish: why concepts still can't be prototypes},
  author={J. Fodor and E. Lepore},
There is a Standard Objection to the idea that concepts might be prototypes (or exemplars, or stereotypes): Because they are productive, concepts must be compositional. Prototypes aren't compositional, so concepts can't be prototypes. However, two recent papers (Osherson and Smith, 1988; Kamp and Partee, 1995) reconsider this consensus. They suggest that, although the Standard Objection is probably right in the long run, the cases where prototypes fail to exhibit compositionality are relatively… Expand
Why stereotypes don’t even make good defaults
An experiment is reported suggesting that participants do not assume, even as a default strategy, that complex concepts inherit the stereotypes of their constituents, and advocates a model of conceptual combination where concepts remain inert under combination, supported by a separate machinery that introduces pragmatic and knowledge-dependent inferences. Expand
Prototypes as compositional components of concepts
It is argued that each of this proposals is independently plausible, and that, when taken together, provide the basis for a satisfactory account of prototype compositionality. Expand
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Concepts—the elementary building-blocks of thought—have long been a focusof research in psychology, and it shows. A naturalistically minded philosopherwho goes shopping for a theory of concepts findsExpand
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Regaining Composure : A Defense of Prototype Compositionality
Beginning in the late 1960s, psychologists began to challenge the view the definitional theory of concepts. According to that theory a concept is a mental representation comprising representations ofExpand
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a also take a deep interest in questions about conceptual structure. It's just that the structure in question is supposed to be the structure of abstract entities. See, e.g., Peacocke (1992) andExpand
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The Hidden Strengths of Weak Theories.
  • F. Keil
  • Psychology, Medicine
  • Anthropology and Philosophy
  • 2011
The alternative proposed here argues that their very weak theories might in fact do a great deal of work in explaining how the authors form concepts and are able to use them to successfully refer. Expand
Gradable Nouns as Concepts Without Prototypes
It is claimed that the class of nouns that are linguistically gradable corresponds precisely to those concepts that have graded membership but lack a prototype, which means that nerdiness increases with intelligence while qualifying as a typical student simply requires some above-standard degree of intelligence. Expand


What some concepts might not be
Three experiments that inquire how well-defined concepts fare under paradigms that are commonly interpreted to support the prototype view show that both well- defined and prototypic categories yield graded responses, the supposed hall-mark of a family resemblance structure. Expand
Conceptual Combination with Prototype Concepts
This paper deals with how people combine simple, prototype concepts into complex ones; e.g., how people combine the prototypes for brown and apple so they can determine the typicality of objects inExpand
The Problem of Reality
Underlying the practice of cognitive science is a basic tension in its goals that to me has much the flavor of a paradigm split in the sense of Kuhn. The tension has to do with how one phrases theExpand
A reassessment of the shift from the classical theory of concepts to prototype theory
It is argued that the main reasons given for preferring prototype theory over the classical theory are flawed and that prototype theory suffers some of the same problems that have been thought to challenge the classical Theory. Expand
On the adequacy of prototype theory as a theory of concepts
Abstract Prototype theory construes membership in a concept's extension as graded, determined by similarity to the concept's “best” exemplar (or by some other measure of central tendency). TheExpand
Combining graded categories: membership and typicality.
It is argued that set intersection is inappropriate for combining graded categories, and the authors propose an alternative formal mechanism in which a conjoint category is constructed from constituent categories by forming a joint distribution of values. Expand
=KP). "Prototype theory and compositionality," forthcoming, Cognition
  • 1995
Languages of the Mind
Prototype theory and compositionality
It is argued that many of the problems O&S discovered are due to difficulties that are intrinsic to fuzzy set theory, and that most of them disappear when fuzzy logic is replaced by supervaluation theory. Expand
Prototype theory and compositionality," forthcoming, Cognition
  • Prototype theory and compositionality," forthcoming, Cognition
  • 1995