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Carving nature at its joints using a knife called concepts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 June 2010

Justin J. Couchman
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY 14260. jjc38@buffalo.edujboomer@buffalo.edumvc5@buffalo.edupsysmith@buffalo.edu
Joseph Boomer
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY 14260. jjc38@buffalo.edujboomer@buffalo.edumvc5@buffalo.edupsysmith@buffalo.edu
Mariana V. C. Coutinho
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY 14260. jjc38@buffalo.edujboomer@buffalo.edumvc5@buffalo.edupsysmith@buffalo.edu
J. David Smith
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY 14260. jjc38@buffalo.edujboomer@buffalo.edumvc5@buffalo.edupsysmith@buffalo.edu

Abstract

That humans can categorize in different ways does not imply that there are qualitatively distinct underlying natural kinds or that the field of concepts splinters. Rather, it implies that the unitary goal of forming concepts is important enough that it receives redundant expression in cognition. Categorization science focuses on commonalities involved in concept learning. Eliminating “concept” makes this more difficult.

Type
Open Peer Commentary
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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References

Ashby, F. G. & Maddox, W. T. (2005) Human category learning. Annual Review of Psychology 56:149–78.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
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Couchman, J. J., Coutinho, M. V. C. & Smith, J. D. (in press) Rules and resemblance: Their changing balance in the category learning of humans (Homo sapiens) and rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes.Google Scholar
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