Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Philosophy
Most contemporary theories of concepts hold that the principal function of these mental entities is that of categorizing things in the world. Such theories, however, tend to generate flawed or insufficient accounts of several cognitive phenomena. I argue for a theory which takes a different account of the nature of the mind. On minimalism, concepts are primarily relational entities, and to think conceptually is to draw relations between mental representations. The minimalist picture can easily explain numerous cognitive phenomena that other theories of concepts overlook; it can also make sense of disagreements between those theories regarding what a concept really is.