What’s a concept?
“In the psycho- logical literature, concepts have been invoked to explain at least the fol- lowing six sets of phenomena.
1. Discrimination: The ability to respond differentially to objects, properties, and events that have something salient in common. For example, identifying and appropriately responding to conspeci?cs based on shape, color, smell, and so on.
2. Nonlinguistic inference: The general ability to draw inferences about classes of objects in the world. For example, inferring from one or more nasty experiences with red mushrooms that red mushrooms should be avoided.
3. Categorization: The arbitrary association of stimuli and responses, including the ability to produce an appropriate label (i.e., a word) in response to a class of stimuli as well as to choose an appropriate object or behavior in response to a label given as stimulus. 6
4. Word and sentence understanding: The processing of words and sen- tences in accordance with their use by a linguistic community, so as to retrieve information that is often called the semantic or cognitive con- tent of a word or sentence.
5. Linguistic inference: The performance of inferences between words (such as the inference from “red” to “colored”) and between sentences (such as modus ponens).
6. Lexical combination: The ability to respond to combinations of lexical items, such as nouns and adjectives, in a way that is appropriate to the combined cognitive contents of the constituents.
-“Splitting Concepts* Gualtiero Piccinini and Sam Scott