Re: [quickphilosophy] Re: Fodor on Concepts III: Other Arguments Against BCP

  • From: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2010 17:02:01 -0700 (PDT)

Right: without it is.
There might be two cases:
1. Someone X claims to have a concept, but can't sort on the concept.
2. Someon Y claims X has a concept, but X can't sort on the concept.
Both are problematic. 
In (1), X really can't show the concept possessed. At most X can say that he 
has the concept of a dieseldown, but can't sort dieseldowns. What kind of 
contemplation can X enjoy with this concept? How can X know that he's 
contemplating dieseldowns, when he's not even sure that he's not contemplating 
a Meyer lemon, a lugnut, or an echidna? Thus, in (1) no example could be given 
that could convince us. It would just be X's assertion. In this case, Fodor's 
paper could have been just one sentence.
In (2), the concept could be explained by Y, and Y could also show that X can't 
sort the concept explained. But, how can Y show that X has the concept? Here, I 
think the only chance Y has of demonstrating the point is to argue that somehow 
X has a subconscious concept of, say, a dieseldown, and shows some behaviors 
that are definitive of dieseldown-concept possession. But, confronted by 
examples of dieseldowns and non-dieseldowns, X gets befuddled, withdraws, and 
can't sort them. It's a possible line of attack. One sometimes sees in 
sociological research arguments to the effect that there exists within a 
population proclivities that are delineable but not assented to by the 
individuals in the population. Everyone says, sure I'd vote for a woman police 
chief, but then she loses in the general election. That sort of thing. It would 
require an involved argument. But, I could see where the unconscious concept 
could be shown in a population, but I still
 wonder if there isn't a fundamental contradiction in showing it for a person, 
such as X. I wonder if in hoping to establish this point, that Y would not have 
to point to examples of X interacting with dieseldowns and non-dieseldowns, and 
that this would simply be an unconsciously expressed epistemic criterion. If Y 
doesn't point to examples like this, where there is at least Mr. X and a 
dieseldown sometimes, how can Y show that X has the concept?

--- On Thu, 9/2/10, gabuddabout <gabuddabout@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

From: gabuddabout <gabuddabout@xxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [quickphilosophy] Re: Fodor on Concepts III: Other Arguments Against 
To: quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: Thursday, September 2, 2010, 4:31 PM


> I think Ron suggested that the idea that somebody could have a concept 
> with[out--B] sorting ability was wild, but I'm not convinced. I bet we could 
> come up with something if we thought about it a bit.
> W

I think you meant "without" above. Perhaps there's a certain bit of stipulation 
we can do where we just acknowledge concept possession independently of a 
sorting condition as something to look into without bothering with sorting. But 
I don't pretend I can sort out what in the world I was just talking about!


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