What is Cognitive Science

Descriptivism and General Terms, Generally

Michael Johnson

Thursday, October 07, 2010, 12:00pm - 07:00pm

Rutgers University, Department of Philosophy and Center for Cognitive Science

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After Saul Kripke's groundbreaking work in Naming and Necessity (1969), many philosophers have come to hold that names, natural kind terms (like 'water', 'tiger', or 'lightning'), and the corresponding concepts, are "non-descriptive," that is, that their contributions to the truth-conditions of sentences or thoughts containing them is not solely a matter of internal, mental representations (such as prototype structure or position in a mentally represented feature space), but also a matter of the causal or informational connections between those representations and the external environment. In this talk, I seek to generalize these results to all general terms and general concepts, not just the natural kind ones.

Michael Johnson


"What is Cognitive Science?"

This lunchtime talks series is designed to introduce the University community to issues in Cognitive Science. Cognitive Science is one the the few fields where modern developments in computer science and artificial intelligence promise to shed light on classical problems in psychology and the philosophy of the mind. Ancient questions of how we see the world, understand language, and reason, and questions such as 'how a material system can know about the outside world', are being explored with the powerful new conceptual prosthetics of computer modeling.

The talks in this lunchtime lecture series are every Thursday during the Fall semester from ** 12:00-1:00 ** in the Psychology Building, Room 101 on  Busch Campus.

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