Are Concepts Mental Representations or Abstracta?
Article first published online: 29 MAY 2007
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Volume 68, Issue 1, pages 89–108, January 2004
How to Cite
SUTTON, J. (2004), Are Concepts Mental Representations or Abstracta?. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 68: 89–108. doi: 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2004.tb00327.x
- Issue published online: 29 MAY 2007
- Article first published online: 29 MAY 2007
I argue that thoughts and concepts are mental representations rather than abstracta. I propose that the most important difference between the two views is that the mentalist believes that there are concept and thought tokens as well as types; this reveals that the dispute is not terminological but ontological. I proceed to offer an argument for mental-ism. The key step is to establish that concepts and thoughts have lexical as well as semantic properties. I then show that this entails that concepts and thoughts are susceptible to the type/token distinction. I finish by considering some objections to the argument.