Toward an Ecological Theory of Concepts

Gabora, Dr. Liane M. and Rosch, Dr. Eleanor and Aerts, Dr. Diederik (2008) Toward an Ecological Theory of Concepts. [Journal (Paginated)]

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Psychology has had difficulty accounting for the creative, context-sensitive manner in which concepts are used. We believe this stems from the view of concepts as identifiers rather than bridges between mind and world that participate in the generation of meaning. This paper summarizes the history and current status of concepts research, and provides a non-technical summary of work toward an ecological approach to concepts. We outline the rationale for applying generalizations of formalisms originally developed for use in quantum mechanics to the modeling of concepts, showing how it is because of the role of context that deep structural similarities exist between the two. A concept is defined not just in terms of exemplary states and their features or properties, but also by the relational structures of these properties, and their susceptibility to change under different contexts. The approach implies a view of mind in which the union of perception and environment drives conceptualization, forging a web of conceptual relations or ‘ecology of mind’.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:categorization, concepts, concept combination, conjunction, context, ecological model, entanglement, exemplar, prototype, quantum structure, theory theory
Subjects:Philosophy > Philosophy of Mind
Biology > Ecology
Computer Science > Statistical Models
Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
ID Code:5957
Deposited By: Gabora, Dr. Liane
Deposited On:10 Mar 2008 14:53
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:57

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