Concepts and Nonconceptual Content

Arnon Cahen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter concerns a distinction within philosophy of mind and cognitive science between conceptual and nonconceptual ways in which a person may mentally represent the world. The thought that perception is nonconceptual—that its character is concept independent—is also motivated by an empirically plausible expectation of a certain ontogenetic and the phylogenetic continuity in nature. Nonconceptualism about perception is, thus, motivated by the thought that perception is, and must be, a more primitive capacity than, and therefore also independent of, the concepts employed by our more intellectually demanding cognitive capacities. Fodor presents an assortment of the arguments in support of the informational encapsulation, or cognitive impenetrability, of perception. Mental states are widely considered to have representational content: they represent the world, one's body, or one's other mental states as being some way or another. As such, mental states are semantically evaluable.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationMind, Cognition, and Neuroscience
Subtitle of host publicationA Philosophical Introduction
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781000511970
ISBN (Print)9781138392342
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 selection and editorial matter, Benjamin D. Young and Carolyn Dicey Jennings; individual chapters, the contributors.


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