[quickphilosophy] Re: Fodor on Concepts II: First argument against BCP

  • From: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2010 13:35:36 -0000

--- In quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "iro3isdx" <xznwrjnk-evca@...> wrote:
> --- In quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "walto" <calhorn@> wrote:
> > responding to
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/quickphilosophy/message/141
> > Walter:
> > To take down concept pragmatism, Fodor first defines what he takes
> > to be a bare boned version of it, which he calls "BCP." Then he
> > provides three arguments against it: I'll discuss only the first.
> That strikes me as a bit of a strawman argument.  Fodor defines his 
> opponents' position, then refutes it.  But it is not up to Fodor to 
> define his opponent's view.  Rather, the opponents get to do that.

Yes, I think you're right.  He calls BCP any theory according to which
"concept possession is constituted by" two epistemic capacities, that for 
INFERRING and that for SORTING. 

But I think sensible BCPers are much more likely simply to claim that some 
group of inferring and/or sorting skills are necessary (though perhaps not 
sufficient) for concept possession (and certainly for TELLING that somebody 
else has it).  That is, if somebody doesn't know that red is a color and can't 
tell red things from blue things, he doesn't have the concept RED.  For 
familiar reasons (that Fodor gives later) these skills should probably not also 
be thought to be sufficient for concept possession.  But why must a BCPer say 
they are?

BTW, thanks for filling in some of the blanks on Fodor in your other post.  I 
haven't read much of his stuff (though I have found a couple of his reviews 
hilarious), and what little I have read I think has probably been in the area 
of mind-brain identity/functionalism.  I'd probably have read more, but I have 
the general sense from what I've seen that I'm not going to agree with too 
much, so I turn elsewhere.  Probably not a very healthy attitude, but there it 


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