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Splitting Concepts
Gualtiero Piccinini and Sam Scott

“Argues that the notion of concept should be split into different notions, each of which explains different phenomena.”

A common presupposition in the concepts literature is that concepts constitute a singular natural kind. If, on the contrary, concepts split into more than one kind, this literature needs to be recast in terms of other kinds of mental representation. We offer two new arguments that concepts, in fact, divide into different kinds: ( a ) concepts split because different kinds of mental representation, processed independently, must be posited to explain different sets of relevant phenomena; ( b ) concepts split because different kinds of mental representation, processed independently, must be posited to explain responses to different kinds of category. Whether these arguments are sound remains an open empirical question, to be resolved by future empirical and theoretical work.

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