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Wandering SignificanceAn Essay on Conceptual Behaviour$
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Mark Wilson

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199269259

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269259.001.0001

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Wandering Significance

Mark Wilson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses upon the role of the term ‘concept’ in the management of everyday and scientific tasks: how we utilize the term as a measure of our preparedness with respect to designing an invention, predicting an outcome, fulfilling a recipe, and other tasks of that nature. It is argued that standard views (dubbed the ‘classical picture’ here) frequently exaggerate our anticipatory capacities by presuming that ‘concepts’ embody simple repositories of invariant directive instructions, whereas in real life usage is affected by far more variegated sources than we commonly recognize. Through a series of case studies drawn from science and everyday life, the book attempts to delimit our real state of ‘conceptual preparedness’ in more realistic terms, without tumbling into the intractable scepticism of Wittgenstein's celebrated ‘rule following’ considerations.

Keywords:   semantic competence, grasp, conceptual evaluation, mitigated scepticism, rule following, linguistic strategy

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