Concept and Nature
Concept and Nature
1. Introduction Chapter 1. Concept- a notion or statement of an idea 2. 1 A concept is a fundamental category of existence. 2. 2 Сoncepts as mandated by a particular mental theory about the state of the world. 2. 3 A concept is a common feature or characteristic 2. 4 The notion of sense as identical to the notion of concept 1. A general idea derived or inferred from specific instances or occurrences. 2. Something formed in the mind; a thought or notion. See Synonyms at idea. 3.
A scheme; a plan: “began searching for an agency to handle a new restaurant concept”(ADWEEK). 1. an idea, esp an abstract idea the concepts of biology 2. (Philosophy) Philosophy a general idea or notion that corresponds to some class of entities and that consists of the characteristic or essential features of the class 3. (Philosophy) Philosophy a. the conjunction of all the characteristic features of something b. a theoretical construct within some theory c. a directly intuited object of thought d. the meaning of a predicate 4.
(Engineering / Automotive Engineering) (modifier) (of a product, esp a car) created as an exercise to demonstrate the technical skills and imagination of the designers, and not intended for mass production or sale [from Latin conceptum something received or conceived, from concipere to take in, conceive] A notion or statement of an idea, expressing how something might be done or accomplished, that may lead to an accepted procedure. concept noun idea, view, image, theory, impression, notion, conception, hypothesis, abstraction,conceptualization She added that the concept of arranged marriages is misunderstood in the west.
World English Dictionary concept (? k? ns? pt) | | — n| 1. | idea, especially an abstract idea: the concepts of biology| 2. | philosophy a general idea or notion that corresponds to some classof entities and hat consists of the characteristic or essentialfeatures of the class| 3. | . philosophy| | a. the conjunction of all the characteristic features of something| | b. a theoretical construct within some theory| | c. a directly intuited object of thought| | d. the meaning of a predicate|
4.| ( modifier ) (of a product, esp a car) created as an exercise todemonstrate the technical skills and imagination of the designers,and not intended for mass production or sale| | [C16: from Latin conceptum something received or conceived, fromconcipere to take in, conceive ] A. In general usage the term mainly denotes ‘idea’ or ‘notion’. It is envisaged as an abstract or psychological thing presupposing conscious minds which at least potentially ‘have’ the concept, i. e. , understand it, operate with it, apply it, etc.
In philosophy and the social sciences (and other sciences too) concepts enter as (a) the most general tools of inquiry as such and as (b) the content or object of some specific inquiries, notably in comparative studies. What follows refers principally to (a) rather than (b). The nature of concepts, and their relation to the things ‘of which they are the concepts’, and to the minds which use or contemplate them, are among the most hotly disputed subject in philosophy. The present definition is not intended to prejudge or settle any of these issues, even if limitations of space make it appear to do so.
B. Defined as an aspect of thought, a concept is a kind of unit in terms of which one thinks; a unit smaller than a judgement, proposition, or theory, but one which necessarily enters into these. In an assertion, something is predicated of a concept, and the predicate itself can generally be re-described as a concept. At the same time, however, the concept is by no means an ultimate or indivisible unit, for concepts can be augmented or diminished by addition or subtraction of some feature.
(For instance, one may say that someone’s concept of social class does, or fails to, include the notion of differences in material rewards. ) Moreover, while concepts occur within assertions or theories and are thus distinct from them, a proposition or theory or thesis as a whole can in turn be referred to as a further concept. For instance, R. Firth writes that ‘some of Dr. Leach’s concepts are of a special order…I refer to his thesis that seeking for power is the basis of social choice’ (Foreword to E. R. Leach, Political Systems of Highland Burma, London: G. Bell, 1954, p. vii). C.
Concepts correspond to or ‘are the meaning of’ all meaningful words, with certain qualifications: (a) only one concept corresponds to two or more words with the same meaning; (b) there is a tendency to speak of concepts only with regard to words which do, or at least can, refer either to something that can exist or be imagined or to an operation that can be performed, and not in connection with words whose role is grammatical rather than designative (for instance, one may speak of the concept of sovereignty, of infinity, of addition, but not of the concept of ‘and’ – though one must add that the drawing of the lines beetween these kinds of meaning is difficult, unsettled, and controversial part of philosophy:
(c) there is a tendency to speak of concepts in connection with general rather than singular terms (one is unlikely to speak of a ‘concpet of John’ or of a ‘concpet of London’; in those cases the term ‘conception’ is more likely to be used. There are, however, exceptions, e. g. , ‘the concept of God’).
The fact that concepts may be seen as the meanings of terms should not lead one to suppose that concepts are in some narrow sense linguistic entities: although concepts may be defined in terms of the rules governing the use of the words said to designate them, those rules determine (a) what things in the world are classed together (as ‘falling’ under the same concept’), (b) what features are grouped together (as ‘being various characteristics of the same thing’), (c) what operations of measurement, classification, discrimination, etc. , are performed by the man ‘using the concept’, and so on. D.
Discussions of concepts in the social sciences tend to be a matter of the choice of terms and, more importantly, of their definitions. One may talk both of discovering and of inventing concepts; also of changing and developing concepts. In as far as given theories require certain concepts, and in as far as concepts can be said to incorporate theories, there is no sharp line between choice of theories and choice of concepts.
Nevertheless, whole theories are thought of primarily as true or false, concepts are more naturally described as applicable or inapplicable, valid or invalid, useful or useless. Taken from A Dictionary of the Social Sciences eds. J. Gould and W. Kolb, Free Press, 1964. Concept From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia In metaphysics, and especially ontology, a concept is a fundamental category of existence. In contemporary philosophy, there are at least three prevailing ways to understand what a concept is: Concepts as mental representations, where concepts are entities that exist in the brain. Concepts as abilities, where concepts are abilities peculiar to cognitive agents. Concepts as abstract objects, where objects are the constituents of propositions that mediate between thought, language, and referents.
Concepts were born out of the rejection of some or all of the classical theory, it seems appropriate to give an account of what might be wrong with this theory. In the 20th century, philosophers such as Rosch and Wittgenstein argued against the classical theory. There are six primary arguments summarized as follows: It seems that there simply are no definitions – especially those based in sensory primitive concepts.  It seems as though there can be cases where our ignorance or error about a class means that we either don’t know the definition of a concept, or have incorrect notions about what a definition of a particular concept might entail.
 Quine’s argument against analyticity in Two Dogmas of Empiricism also holds as an argument against definitions.  Some concepts have fuzzy membership. There are items for which it is vague whether or not they fall into (or out of) a particular referent class. This is not possible in the classical theory as everything has equal and full membership.  Rosch found typicality effects which cannot be explained by the classical theory of concepts, these sparked the prototype theory.  See below. Psychological experiments show no evidence for our using concepts as strict definitions.  Prototype theory Main article: Prototype theory Prototype theory came out of problems with the classical view of conceptual structure.
 Prototype theory says that concepts specify properties that members of a class tend to possess, rather than must possess.  Wittgenstein, Rosch, Mervis, Berlin, Anglin and Posner are a few of the key proponents and creators of this theory.  Wittgenstein describes the relationship between members of a class as family resemblances. There are not necessarily any necessary conditions for membership, a dog can still be a dog with only three legs.  This view is particularly supported by psychological experimental evidence for prototypicality effects.  Participants willingly and consistently rate objects in categories like ‘vegetable’ or ‘furniture’ as more or less typical of that class.
 It seems that our categories are fuzzy psychologically, and so this structure has explanatory power.  We can judge an item’s membership to the referent class of a concept by comparing it to the typical member – the most central member of the concept. If it is similar enough in the relevant ways, it will be cognitively admitted as a member of the relevant class of entities.  Rosch suggests that every category is represented by a central exemplar which embodies all or the maximum possible number of features of a given category.  Theory-theory Theory-theory is a reaction to the previous two theories and develops them further.  This theory postulates that categorization by concepts is something like scientific theorizing.
 Concepts are not learned in isolation, but rather are learned as a part of our experiences with the world around us.  In this sense, concepts’ structure relies on their relationships to other concepts as mandated by a particular mental theory about the state of the world.  How this is supposed to work is a little less clear than in the previous two theories, but is still a prominent and notable theory.  This is supposed to explain some of the issues of ignorance and error that come up in prototype and classical theories as concepts that are structured around each other seem to account for errors such as whale as a fish (this misconception came from an incorrect theory about what a whale is like, combining with our theory of what a fish is).
 When we learn that a whale is not a fish, we are recognizing that whales don’t in fact fit the theory we had about what makes something a fish. In this sense, the Theory-Theory of concepts is responding to some of the issues of prototype theory and classic theory.  Issues in concept theory A priori concepts Main articles: A priori and a posteriori and Category (Kant) Kant declared that human minds possess pure or a priori concepts. Instead of being abstracted from individual perceptions, like empirical concepts, they originate in the mind itself. He called these concepts categories, in the sense of the word that means predicate, attribute, characteristic, or quality.
But these pure categories are predicates of things in general, not of a particular thing. According to Kant, there are 12 categories that constitute the understanding of phenomenal objects. Each category is that one predicate which is common to multiple empirical concepts. In order to explain how an a priori concept can relate to individual phenomena, in a manner analogous to an a posteriori concept, Kant employed the technical concept of the schema. Immanuel Kant held that the account of the concept as an abstraction of experience is only partly correct. He called those concepts that result from abstraction “a posteriori concepts” (meaning concepts that arise out of experience).
An empirical or an a posteriori concept is a general representation (Vorstellung) or non-specific thought of that which is common to several specific perceived objects (Logic, I, 1. , §1, Note 1) A concept is a common feature or characteristic. Kant investigated the way that empirical a posteriori concepts are created. The logical acts of the understanding by which concepts are generated as to their form are: comparison, i. e. , the likening of mental images to one another in relation to the unity of consciousness; reflection, i. e. , the going back over different mental images, how they can be comprehended in one consciousness; and finally abstraction or the segregation of everything else by which the mental images differ …
In order to make our mental images into concepts, one must thus be able to compare, reflect, and abstract, for these three logical operations of the understanding are essential and general conditions of generating any concept whatever. For example, I see a fir, a willow, and a linden. In firstly comparing these objects, I notice that they are different from one another in respect of trunk, branches, leaves, and the like; further, however, I reflect only on what they have in common, the trunk, the branches, the leaves themselves, and abstract from their size, shape, and so forth; thus I gain a concept of a tree. Embodied content Main article: Embodied cognition In cognitive linguistics, abstract concepts are transformations of concrete concepts derived from embodied experience.
The mechanism of transformation is structural mapping, in which properties of two or more source domains are selectively mapped onto a blended space (Fauconnier & Turner, 1995; see conceptual blending). A common class of blends are metaphors. This theory contrasts with the rationalist view that concepts are perceptions (or recollections, in Plato’s term) of an independently existing world of ideas, in that it denies the existence of any such realm. It also contrasts with the empiricist view that concepts are abstract generalizations of individual experiences, because the contingent and bodily experience is preserved in a concept, and not abstracted away.
While the perspective is compatible with Jamesian pragmatism, the notion of the transformation of embodied concepts through structural mapping makes a distinct contribution to the problem of concept formation.  Ontology Plato was the starkest proponent of the realist thesis of universal concepts. By his view, concepts (and ideas in general) are innate ideas that were instantiations of a transcendental world of pure forms that lay behind the veil of the physical world. In this way, universals were explained as transcendent objects. Needless to say this form of realism was tied deeply with Plato’s ontological projects. This remark on Plato is not of merely historical interest.
For example, the view that numbers are Platonic objects was revived by Kurt Godel as a result of certain puzzles that he took to arise from the phenomenological accounts. Gottlob Frege, founder of the analytic tradition in philosophy, famously argued for the analysis of language in terms of sense and reference. For him, the sense of an expression in language describes a certain state of affairs in the world, namely, the way that some object is presented. Since many commentators view the notion of sense as identical to the notion of concept, and Frege regards senses as the linguistic representations of states of affairs in the world, it seems to follow that we may understand concepts as the manner in which we grasp the world.
Accordingly, concepts (as senses) have an ontological status (Morgolis:7) According to Carl Benjamin Boyer, in the introduction to his The History of the Calculus and its Conceptual Development, concepts in calculus do not refer to perceptions. As long as the concepts are useful and mutually compatible, they are accepted on their own. For example, the concepts of the derivative and the integral are not considered to refer to spatial or temporal perceptions of the external world of experience. Neither are they related in any way to mysterious limits in which quantities are on the verge of nascence or evanescence, that is, coming into or going out of existence.
The abstract concepts are now considered to be totally autonomous, even though they originated from the process of abstracting or taking away qualities from perceptions until only the common, essential attributes remained. Etymology The term “concept” is traced back to 1554–60 (Latin conceptum – “something conceived”), but what is today termed “the classical theory of concepts” is the theory of Aristotle on the definition of terms.  The meaning of “concept” is explored in mainstream information science, cognitive science, metaphysics, and philosophy of mind. In computer and information science contexts, especially, the term ‘concept’ is often used in unclear or inconsistent ways.
When writing on the idea of nature as both stable in meaning and of the exchangeability of nature for other conceptualizations in written works, one should probably define nature in a definite way as to allow for comparisons in meaning. When seeking to define nature, whether it be of a human sort or any other, one must consider the parts to fully understand the whole. Everything must have a nature. If nothing had a nature, would that mean nature as we think of it would cease to exists? Or would we have another name for it? When seeking to define “nature”, there are a few routes to consider. Does a bear have a personality or a nature? Or both? When a bear frolics and plays, is that personality or nature? When it hibernates, is that personality or nature?
For the sake of this argument, we shall say that when a bear happens to be frolicking and playing, he is doing so in a certain style, or way that is unique to that bear that sets him apart from his fellows, but not so much so that it alienates him from all bears. From there, we will assume this is because its personality allows it to. When it hibernates, it is because nature forces it to. Nature therefore is uniform; it has no uniqueness within bear kind. So establishing that a bear has a personality and a nature, what does this mean for criticism? Often in our readings we see references to nature, such as Mother Nature, human nature, the nature of plays and poetry, and so on and so forth.
The question then, is what does a critic refer to when he says “nature”? Is he referring to hibernation? Or has he meant that nature is all-encompassing, referring to all actions of the bear as nature? As we have defined an instance of personality and nature within the inner workings of the bear, likewise must be done within the workings of criticism. In An Essay of Dramatic Poesy John Dryden states that a play “ought to be, a just and lively image of human nature, representing its passions and humors, and the changes of fortune to which it is subject; for the delight and instruction of mankind. ” When he mentions “human nature” here, he is referring to many things at once.
He is connecting the emotions one feels (passion and humors), that could easily be said to be part of an individual’s personality, as well as the commonality we all share in that there are no unique emotions to any one person. No one person has only felt happiness their whole life, nor has anyone not experience happiness at all. Dryden’s mention of “the changes of fortune” requires the alteration of the definition of “nature” we have thus far defined. When considering the bear, we didn’t count events in the bear’s life as part of his nature or personality. One can, however, predict what the bear will do in a life-changing event based on what we know of his nature. When it beings to get colder, a bear, as mandated by his bear nature, will forage for food to prepare for hibernation. When winter comes he will find a cave and hibernate.
So when Dryden says “the change of fortune to which it is subject,” it can be assumed he means that human nature will react in a certain and specific and mostly predictable way to changes in the fictional character’s life. This means we can add an element of predictability and stability of actions to the definition of nature, with any variation given to personality. Dryden then turns to the notion of imitation. He speaks of imitating the ancient Greeks, who were imitators of nature. He speaketh: “Those Ancients have been faithful imitators and wise observers of that nature which is so torn and ill represented in our plays[. ]” This statement leads us to believe that nature is something to be observed and imitated.
Therefore if one wanted to correctly portray a day in the life of our bear, he would watch the bear play, fish, sleep, and ect. The artist would then consider all of this as the bear’s nature, and imitate it on the stage or on paper in a story. The same process is therefore used when seeking to observe human nature. The poet, the playwright, the artist and novelist must be vigilant, claims Dryden, when observing so that when it is time to imitate, he can do so accurately. Aristotle, of the aforementioned Ancients, also discussed at great length the importance of the imitation of nature in art in his essay Poetics . Aristotlestates: Speaking generally, the origin of the art of poetry is to be found in two natural causes.
For the process of imitation is natural to mankind from childhood on: Man is differentiated from other animals because he is the most imitative of them, and he learns his first lessons through imitation, and we observe that all men find pleasure in imitations. Imitation is considered here by Aristotle to be natural to mankind, even being so bold as to claim only humans learn from imitation. This natural tendency to imitate therefore leads us to find pleasure in observing imitations as well the act of imitation itself. Aristotle then incorporates “imitation” as a part of human nature, meaning that the action of imitation and the enjoyment of imitation is something all humans participate in, much in the way all bears hibernate in the winter. Aristotle continues by saying:
Since imitation is given to us by nature[…]men, having been naturally endowed with these gifts from the beginning and then developing them gradually, for the most part, finally created the art of poetry from their early improvisations. Poetry then diverged in the directions of the natural dispositions of the poets. At this point, Aristotle’s notion of “nature” gets a little vague. First he states that imitation comes to mankind naturally. As he continues, however, he states that imitation is then developed, like a skill not an instinct. This concept evolves further to say that only the likes of poets become masters of imitation. Poets are unique in their ability to portray the observations of imitations they see.
This uniqueness removes them from our definition of what is natural and applies to humans as a species, as Aristotle claims earlier. What Aristotle is applying here is another version of nature that is microsphere-ish to an individual, hence personality. Aristotle does not make this distinction what-so-ever. If imitation comes naturally to mankind as a whole, yet poetry only comes naturally to the disposition of poets, what exactly does that mean when defining nature? It means the terms “nature” and “naturally” in this passage needs footnotes. Perhaps when looking at this passage in terms of the way the words “nature” and “naturally” are used, Aristotle first uses it to refer to a universal characteristic shared by all humans: imitation.
When refereeing to the poet, however, the definition changes slightly to refer to only poets, as though they are their own sub-species. An equivalent statement would be “All bears hibernate, but black bears hibernate the best. ” Longinus also had an opinion of nature in his work On The Sublime. A lofty tone, says one, is innate, and does not come by teaching; nature is the only are that can compass it. Works of nature are, they think, made worse and altogether feebler when wizened by the rules of art. But I maintain that this will be found to be otherwise if it be observed that, while nature as a rule is free and independent in matters of passion and elevation, yet is she wont not to act at random and utterly without system.
Further, nature is the original and vital underlying principle in all cases, but system can define limits and fitting seasons, and can also contribute the safest rules for use and practice. Longinus starts his argument out by saying what others have been saying: that the ability to write well comes from a persons’ natural talent; one that is born and not cultivated. Moreover, art is less sublime when confined to rules of art. Longinus argues this point, saying that if one truly observes an artist, they will find that while a natural born talent is a key principle, there is a system and structure to what is considered good art that is outside of nature’s control, which is contrary to the believe stated first.
Longinus continues his argument by saying: This we may apply to diction, nature occupying the position of good fortune, art that of good counsel. Most important of all, we must remember that the very fact that there are some elements of expression which are in the hands of nature alone, can be learnt from no other sources than art. Longinus argues that ultimately nature is a catalyst for creation but does not play a role when judging if what has been created is worthy enough to be considered art. Yet in the next statement, he gives nature, the credit for the elements of expression that are observed and imitated in art to gain a better understanding of nature itself.
When it comes to critiquing art, Dryden’s argument in An Essay of Dramatic Poesy is that in order for a work of art to be art, it must be the closet to actual nature. “Ancients have been faithful imitators and wise observers of that nature which is so torn and ill represented in our plays; they have handed down to us a perfect resemblance of her; which we, like ill copiers, neglecting to look on, have rendered monstrous, and disfigured. ” When plays or writings don’t give an exact replication of nature, or even what is considered human nature, it loses value. It cannot be considered good art. The Greeks gave us examples of what good art is with their philosophies and ideas about nature and human nature. One advantage Dryden mentions his time period has over the Greeks is the advancement of science.
He says: Is it not evident, in these last hundred years (when the study of philosophy has been the business of all the virtuosi in Christendom) that almost a new nature has been revealed to us? That more errors of the school have been detected, more useful experiments in philosophy have been made, more noble secrets in optics, medicine, anatomy, astronomy, discovered, than in all those credulous and doting ages from Aristotle to us? O true it is that nothing spreads more fast than science, when rightly and generally cultivated. As far as Dryden is concerned, that while many virtuous men have been focusing on philosophy, the times since Aristotle have changed. The invention of the microscope and the discovery of cells have altered how the natural world is viewed.
There is more to everything in nature that meets the eye. He notes that worthy experiments in philosophy have been made, but that the rapid expanse of information generated by science has eclipsed those of philosophy. As there are no such references to science in regards to philosophy in Aristotle’s time, the philosopher of today must make his own way in regards to managing the way sciences has changed our view of nature. But what does science have to do with philosophy and art? The answer lies in the nature of art to reflect and imitate nature. Now that the secrets of optics, medicine, anatomy, and astronomy have been revealed, our human nature takes these secrets in.
Philosophy now must contend and compromise with how these advancements fit into the human condition. The “new nature” must be negotiated with in terms of how it affects our lives. And of course science gives imitators a new genera in which to work. Painters can now paint the surgeon at work, perhaps teaching pupils. Once something becomes a natural experience, including that of science, it is to be imitated by poets. Nature, in its ever shifting meanings, does seem to have one consistent idea contributed to it, despite the technicalities. It can refer to the literal, organic substances that make up the vegetation, animals, and mankind in the world around us.
It can also mean the behavior exhibited by said organic beings, such as the hibernation of bears. It has also been used to describe the emotions and other commonalties experienced by humans as a whole. Aristotle and Dryden have made it clear that within mankind there are certain characteristics attributed by nature, such as the observation and imitation of that which is around us. Simply put, it is in our nature to imitate nature. However, this definition of nature is refined when it comes under the consideration of art. While all of mankind takes delight in imitation, nature has endowed the artist, like say the poet, with a more natural and superior sense of imitation.
When it comes to critiquing art of any sort, knowledge and a developed set of skills replaces nature according to Longinus. The act of imitating and creating may have natural causes, but the ability to ascribe worth to these creations can only come from a refined sense of what is makes good art, something that is not obtained from nature. In Dryden’s opinion, only the closest of imitations of nature are art. He also relies on the philosophy and insight into human nature of the ancient Greeks to guide what is valuable when it comes to art. Dryden makes the effort to include science in his argument by stating that science has discovered a “new nature” that will be observed and imitated and philosophized that the Greeks had no knowledge of.
Nature, therefore, is still evolving, as will our concept of the many definitions of Nature. The idea of nature is one of the most widely employed in philosophy, and by the same token one of the most ill-defined. Authors such as Aristotle and Descartes relied on the concept of nature to explain the fundamental tenets of their views, without ever attempting to define the concept. Even in contemporary philosophy, the idea is oftentimes employed, in different forms. So, what is nature? Nature and the Essence of a Thing The philosophical tradition that traces back to Aristotle employs the idea of nature to explain that which defines the essence of a thing.
One of the most fundamental metaphysical concepts, the essence indicates those properties that define what a thing is. The essence of water, for instance, will be its molecular structure, the essence of a species, its ancestral history; the essence of a human, its self-consciousness or its soul. Within the Aristotelian traditions, hence, to act in accordance with nature means to take into account the real definition of each thing when dealing with it. The Natural World At times the idea of nature is instead used to refer to anything that exists in the universe as part of the physical world. In this sense, the idea embraces anything that falls under the study of the natural sciences, from physics to biology to environmental studies. Natural vs.
“Natural” is often used also to refer to a process which occurs spontaneously as opposed to one that occurs as the result of the deliberation of a being. Thus, a plant grows naturally when its growth was not planned by a rational agent; it grows otherwise artificially. An apple, would hence be an artificial product, under this understanding of the idea of nature, although most would agree that an apple is a product of nature (that is, a part of the natural world, that which is studied by natural scientists). Nature vs. Nurture Related to the spontaneity vs. artificiality divide is the idea of nature as opposed to nurture.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 13 November 2016
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