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Joel Parthemore

Joel ParthemoreMy recently defended doctoral thesis is an attempt to extend the basic model of Peter Gärdenfors' conceptual spaces theory of concepts as a means of reconciling a longstanding conflict in philosophy of mind over whether concepts are, at least in the first instance: * representations (most often specified to be “mental representations”), or... * (non-representational) abilities. I conclude that both perspectives are necessary to any comprehensive theory of concepts. Concepts “just are” representations when we reflect on them; on the other hand, when we possess and employ them non-reflectively, as must logically be most often the case, a different description is needed: that of (non-representational) abilities. On the one hand, we can establish the logical priority of concepts-as-abilities; on the other, we do so from an unavoidably representational perspective that we cannot set aside: the moment we reflect on our presumably non-representational abilities, they become representations.

Discussion Topic: What is the role for representations, properly understood and delimited, within an enactive theory of concepts?

Occupation: postdoctoral researcher
Status: Non-Member

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