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Conceptual Role Semantics, the Theory Theory, and Conceptual Change

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Document pages: 15 pages

Abstract: The purpose of the paper is twofold. I first outline a philosophical theory of concepts based on conceptual role semantics. This approach is explicitly intended as a framework for the study and explanation of conceptual change in science. Then I point to the close similarities between this philosophical framework and the theory theory of concepts, suggesting that a convergence between psychological and philosophical approaches to concepts is possible. An underlying theme is to stress that using a non-atomist account of concepts is crucial for the successful study of conceptual development and change—both for the explanation of individual cognitive development and for the study of conceptual change in science.

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