David Papineau – Cutting Concepts Too Fine

Event Date: 27 March 2012

Senate House
University of London
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HU

The Institute of Philosophy presents

Professor David Papineau (King’s College London) – Cutting Concepts Too Fine

The general theme of this talk is that it is a mistake to model thought too closely on language. The talk has two sections. In the first and more general section, I argue that it not helpful to tie concepts, understood as the components of thoughts, to the meanings of public words: this will often misrepresent the cognitive structure of individuals, and offers no compensating explanatory advantage.  In the second and more specific section, I argue against the idea that the indexicality of words is matched by an indexicality of concepts: any indexical word can be used to express many different concepts, and none of these concepts varies in reference in the way indexical words do.

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