Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Making of Human Concepts$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Denis Mareschal, Paul C. Quinn, and Stephen E.G. Lea

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199549221

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199549221.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 February 2020

The making of an abstract concept: Natural number

The making of an abstract concept: Natural number

(p.265) Chapter 13 The making of an abstract concept: Natural number
The Making of Human Concepts

Susan Carey

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues for three points: First, it denies that nonhuman animals or human infants lack the capacity to represent abstract concepts. In particular, it argues that the initial state includes several systems of core cognition with long evolutionary histories. Core cognition includes abstract concepts with conceptual content. Second, nonetheless, there are discontinuities in conceptual development at two different levels of generality. At a general level, most human concepts differ from those embedded in core cognition in many ways, and, at a specific level, core cognition does not have the resources to represent most specific abstract concepts. Third, it characterizes one class of learning mechanism that underlies the discontinuities of interest: Quinian bootstrapping. With this analysis in hand, the chapter speculates on some aspects of conceptual representations unique to humans. These points are illustrated with a single case study of the making of the human capacity to represent natural number.

Keywords:   abstract concepts, core cognition, conceptual development, quinian bootstrapping, conceptual representations, natural number

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .