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Concepts as Correlates of Lexical Labels

A Cognitivist Perspective


Slawomir Wacewicz

The study of language becomes particularly attractive when it is not practised as an isolated descriptive enterprise, but when it has wide-ranging implications for the study of the human mind. Such is the spirit of this book. While categorisation may be the single most basic cognitive process in organisms, and as an area of inquiry, it is fundamental to Cognitive Science as a whole, at the other end of the spectrum, high-level cognition is organised and permeated by language, giving rise to categories that count and function as concepts. Working from considering the philosophical assumptions of the cognitivist perspective, this study offers an argument for a very productive understanding of the relation between concepts, categories, and their theoretical models.
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3. Concepts, categorisation, mental representation. Preliminary definitions and discussion. Historical background


3.  Concepts, categorisation, mental representation. Preliminary definitions and discussion. Historical background

Introduction and caveats

The character of the third chapter of the present work is largely introductory. In this chapter, the main objective is to provide an initial discussion of the key terms, that is of concept and category/categorisation, as well as of several other ancillary but important terms, notably mental representation. The considerations that figure in this part of the text are of both diachronic and synchronic nature and are designed to sketch a preliminary conceptual geography of the subject.

This introductory overview does not (as it cannot) make any pretence to comprehensiveness. It is a constructionally necessary element, offering the Reader a theoretical background against which the more specific concerns of the rest of this work can be defined. However, it should be borne in mind that neither historical nor contemporary general characterisation itself lies among the primary research objectives of this work; it is meant as a necessary starting point for the development of subsequent chapters. As remarked above, because of the size and heterogeneity of the subject, it was necessary to profile the discussion in order to retain focus and the integrity of the work.

3.1  Concepts

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