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Re: [xmca] concepts
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- Subject: Re: [xmca] concepts
- From: mike cole <email@example.com>
- Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2011 23:58:54 -0700
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We are headed out for an excursion this morning.
I will email you when i get back, by which time you may be awake.
On Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 6:01 PM, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Huw, I think any scientific theory should aspire to be philosophically
> rigorous. Philosophial rigour though is not something that depends on
> results as "scientific" rigour does. For example, is we use the concept of
> "activity" in our scientific work as a relation between the mental and the
> physical for example, then we need to be aware that this introduces a
> dichotomy which is ultimately unsustainable. On the other hand, it is almost
> impossible to talk about, let alone explain, Activity without referring to
> "states of mind" and so on. This is the difficult distinction between
> communicative action and concepts.
> On concepts: It is true that a concept **can** be conceived of within a
> matrix of similarity and differences, but I think that is a view which
> really misses what a concept is and fails to capture the full breadth of
> meaning of the word. It has the effect of replacing the study of a concept
> with the study of "features" ultimately leading to an arbitrary decision on
> what counts as an "irreducible" "chunk" or "feature". I think there is a
> difference between problems of recognition or categorisation, on one hand,
> and conceptulisation on the other. Concepts actually always have fuzzy
> boundaries, and focus on boundary problems often misses the essence.
> Huw Lloyd wrote:
>> Distinguishing a scientific theory from a philosophical one, we can, I
>> believe, state that the sum of the within-paradigm conceptions combined
>> the means of measuring (creating) phenomena provide the working definition
>> of the conception of the subject. This conception is still, in theory,
>> comparable to other conceptions of the phenomena (e.g. a cognitive model
>> compared with a cybernetic model), this seems to introduce a certain
>> relativity to the term 'fundamental concept', so I'm not sure I agree with
>> "I can't define it in terms of anything else", as opposed to "It would
>> me a long time to define it".
>> Part of the interest here is in the semantics of the term 'concept'. To
>> conceptualize something implies that you can conceptualize something else
>> something similar, implying that all concepts (or conceptions) can be
>> conceived of as residing within a matrix of commonalities and
>> (which was my starting point).
>>> I think that for science, it is important to know what the concept of the
>>> subject matter is, even if we can communicate adequately without that
>> That seems perfectly reasonable and necessary.
>> For me, another slightly confusing aspect of the term 'fundamental
>> in the context of philosophy is that it suggests Idealism which may, or
>> not, be your cup of tea.
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