more from E Margolis/S Laurence

Single Idea 11123

[catalogued under 18. Thought / D. Concepts / 3. Ontology of Concepts / b. Concepts as abilities]

Full Idea

The view that concepts are abilities (e.g. found in Brandom, Dummett and Millikan) would say that the concept CAT amounts to the ability to discriminate cats from non-cats and to draw certain inferences about cats.

Gist of Idea

Maybe the concept CAT is just the ability to discriminate and infer about cats


E Margolis/S Laurence (Concepts [2009], 1.2)

Book Reference

'Stanford Online Encyclopaedia of Philosophy', ed/tr. Stanford University [], p.3

A Reaction

Feels wrong. The concept is what makes these abilities possible, but it seems rather behaviourist to identify the concept with what is enabled by the concept. You might understand 'cat', but fail to recognise your first cat (though you might suspect it).