, Volume 79, Issue 3, pp 531–549 | Cite as

Where Concepts Come from: Learning Concepts by Description and by Demonstration

  • Dylan Sabo
Original Article


Jerry Fodor’s arguments against the possibility of concept learning, and the responses that have been offered in defense of the coherence of concept learning, have both by and large assumed that concept learning is a descriptive process. I offer an alternative, ostensive approach to concept learning and explain how descriptive concept learning can be explained as a version of ostensive concept learning. I argue that an ostensive view of concept learning offers an empirically plausible and philosophically adequate account of concept learning that is explanatorily superior to traditional descriptive views.


Descriptive Information Concept Learning Prototype Theory Mental Term Perceptual Attention 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Thanks to Dorit Bar-On, John Dilworth, Bill Lycan, Ram Neta, Jesse Prinz, John Roberts, and audiences at Auburn University and Occidental College for discussions of prior incarnations of this material, and to Jerry Fodor for very helpful comments on a previous draft of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentOccidental CollegeLos AngelesUSA

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