more from E Margolis/S Laurence

Single Idea 11135

[catalogued under 18. Thought / D. Concepts / 4. Structure of Concepts / d. Concepts as prototypes]

Full Idea

An objection to the prototype view concerns compositionality. A complex concept often has emergent properties, as when it seems that 'pet fish' encodes for brightly coloured, which has no basis in the prototypes for 'pet' or 'fish'.


'Compositionality' is assembling the whole from components

Gist of Idea

Complex concepts have emergent properties not in the ingredient prototypes


E Margolis/S Laurence (Concepts [2009], 2.2)

Book Reference

'Stanford Online Encyclopaedia of Philosophy', ed/tr. Stanford University [], p.8

A Reaction

I would take 'pet fish' to work like a database query. 'Fish' has a very vague prototype, and then 'pet fish' narrows the search to fish which are appropriate to be pets. We might say that the prototype is refined, or the Mk 2 prototype appears.