Shifting Concepts: The Philosophy and Psychology of Conceptual Variability

ISBN : 9780198803331

Teresa Marques; Asa Wikforss
272 ページ
153 x 234 mm

Concepts stand at the centre of human cognition. We use concepts in categorizing objects and events in the world, in reasoning and action, and in social interaction. It is therefore not surprising that the study of concepts constitutes a central area of research in philosophy and psychology, yet only recently have the two disciplines developed greater interaction. Recent experiments in psychology that test the role of concepts in categorizing and reasoning have found a great deal of variation, across individuals and cultures, in categorization behaviour. Meanwhile, philosophers of language and mind have investigated the semantic properties of concepts, and how concepts are related to linguistic meaning and linguistic communication. A key motivation behind this was the idea that concepts must be shared across individuals and cultures. With the dawn of experimental philosophy, the proposal that the experimental data from psychology lacks relevance to semantics is increasingly difficult to defend.

This volume brings together leading psychologists and philosophers to advance the interdisciplinary debate on the role of concepts in categorizing and reasoning, the relationship between concepts and linguistic meaning and communication, the challenges conceptual variation poses to communication, and the social and political effects of conceptual change.


Teresa Marques and Åsa Wikforss: Introduction: Shifting Concepts
Part I. How Concepts Shift: Variation Across Individuals, Times, and Contexts
1 Barbara C. Malt: Mapping Thoughts to Words: Cross-Language Differences, Learning, and Communication
2 Gregory L. Murphy: How to Make Psychological Generalizations When Concepts Differ: A Case Study of Conceptual Development
3 Peter Pagin: When does communication succeed? The case of general terms
4 James A. Hampton: Investigating Differences in People's Concept Representations
5 Yasmina Jraissati: Color Categories in Context
6 Zed Adams and Nat Hansen: The Myth of the Common-Sense Conception of Colour
7 Daniel Cohnitz and Jussi Haukioja: Variation in Natural Kind Concepts
Part II. To Shift a Concept: Conceptual Revolution, Amelioration, and Perversion
8 Joshua Glasgow: Conceptual Revolution
9 Edouard Machery and Luc Faucher: The Folk Concept of Race
10 Esa Diaz-Leon: On the Conceptual Mismatch Argument: Descriptions, Disagreement, and Amelioration
11 Robin O. Andreasen: Conceptual Fragmentation and the Use of 'Race' in Scientific Theorizing
12 Sally Haslanger: How Not to Change the Subject
13 Teresa Marques: Amelioration vs. Perversion


Teresa Marques is a researcher in the Philosophy Department of the University of Barcelona and a member of the LOGOS Group and of the Barcelona Institute of Analytic Philosophy. Her research interests lie in the philosophy of language, metaethics, and social and legal philosophy. In 2014 she was awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship. In 2012-2015, she was a PI in the cross-disciplinary project on concepts and communication CCCOM, a EUROCORES project of the European Science Foundation. She has also held positions at the University Pompeu Fabra, the University of Lisbon, and the University of Maryland - University College Europe. ; Asa Wikforss is a professor of theoretical philosophy at Stockholm University. She is a member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Science and in 2019 she was elected to the Swedish Academy. Her research interests lie in the intersection of philosophy of language, mind, and epistemology. In 2012-2015 she was the leader of a cross-disciplinary project on concepts and communication CCCOM, a EUROCORES project of the European Science Foundation, and in 2018 she was awarded a large grant for a cross-disciplinary program on knowledge resistance, funded by the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences.