Not rational, but not brutely causal either: A reply to Fodor on concept acquisition

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Published Feb 26, 2020
Louise Antony

Abstract

Jerry Fodor has argued that concept acquisition cannot be a psychological or "rational-causal" process, but can only be a "brute-causal" process of acquisition.  This position generates the "doorknob --> DOORKNOB" problem: why are concepts typically acquired on the basis of experience with items in their extensions? I argue that Fodor's taxonomy of causal processes needs supplementation, and characterize a third type: what I call "intelligible-causal processes."  Armed with this new category I present what I regard as a better response than Fodor's to the doorknob --> DOORKNOB problem.

How to Cite

Antony, L. (2020). Not rational, but not brutely causal either: A reply to Fodor on concept acquisition. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, 35(1), 45–57. https://doi.org/10.1387/theoria.21031
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Keywords

concept, nativism, acquisition, representation, rational-causal, brute-causal, intelligible-causal

Section
MONOGRAPHIC SECTION