Document Detail

Representation of principled connections: a window onto the formal aspect of common sense conception.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21585476     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
Nominal concepts represent things as tokens of types. Recent research suggests that we represent principled connections between the type of thing something is (e.g., DOG) and some of its properties (k-properties; e.g., having four legs for dogs) but not other properties (t-properties; e.g., being brown for dogs). Principled connections differ from logical, statistical, and causal connections. Principled connections license (i) the expectation that tokens of the type will generally possess their k-properties, (ii) formal explanations (i.e., explanation of the presence of k-properties in tokens of a type by reference to the type of thing it is), and (iii) normative expectations concerning the presence of k-properties in tokens of the type. The present paper investigates the hypothesis that representing principled connections requires representing properties as aspects of being the relevant kind of thing (Aspect Hypothesis). Experiment 1 provides a direct test of the Aspect Hypothesis. Experiments 2 and 3 provide indirect tests of the Aspect Hypothesis. All three experiments provide support for the Aspect Hypothesis. Experiment 4 investigates a prediction of the Aspect Hypothesis concerning the manner in which formal explanations are licensed by principled connections. Finally, Experiment 5 investigates a prediction of the Aspect Hypothesis concerning the nature of the normative expectations licensed by principled connections. Together these results provide strong evidence for the idea that representing principled connections involves representing a property as being an aspect of being a given kind of thing. The results also help clarify the manner in which formal explanation differs from other modes of explanation. Finally, the results of the experiments are used to motivate a proposal concerning the formal structure of the conceptual representations implicated by principled connections. This structure provides a domain-general way of structuring our concepts and embodies the perspective we take when we think and talk of things as being instances of a kind.
Sandeep Prasada; Elaine M Dillingham
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Cognitive science     Volume:  33     ISSN:  0364-0213     ISO Abbreviation:  Cogn Sci     Publication Date:  2009 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-05-18     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7708195     Medline TA:  Cogn Sci     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  401-48     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2009, Cognitive Science Society, Inc.
Hunter College, CUNY.
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