Seeking for the Grasp: An Iterative Subdivision Model of Conceptualisation

  • Mauri KaipainenEmail author
  • Antti Hautamäki
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 405)


Concepts are fundamental collective constructs of individual items that are capable of abstracting meaningfully homogeneous groupings of phenomena. This capability is a prerequisite for communication and action and gives structure to learning and memory. Our study is aligned with the vast paradigm that assumes embodied cognition, rooted in Merleau-Ponty (Phenomenology of perception (trans: C. Smith). Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1962), seminally articulated by Varela et al. (Embodied mind: cognitive science and human experience. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1991) and existing today in a number of variants that have been reviewed by Wilson (Six views of embodied cognition. Springer. Psychon Bull Rev 9(4):625–636, 2002). We argue that the faculty to conceptualise may spring from the ability of homo habilis to manage concrete actions in space and time, and we propose that at the root level, ‘grasping concepts’ in a cognitive perspective may have a lot to do with the process of ‘grasping objects’ from an operational position.



Writing this chapter was financially supported by The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies (Östersjöstiftelsen), Sweden.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Perspicamus LTDHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of Social Sciences and PhilosophyUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

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