Skip navigation
Hardcover | ISBN: 9780262133531 | 712 pp. | 7 x 10 in | June 1999
Paperback | $58.00 Text | £39.95 | ISBN: 9780262631938 | 712 pp. | 7 x 10 in | June 1999

Instructor Resources


Core Readings


Concepts: Core Readings traces the develoment of one of the most active areas of investigation in cognitive science. This comprehensive volume brings together the essential background readings from philosophy, psychology, and linguistics, while providing a broad sampling of contemporary research. The first part of the book centers around the fall of the Classical Theory of Concepts in the face of attacks by W.V.O. Quine, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Eleanor Rosch, and others, emphasizing the emergence and development of the Prototype Theory and the controversies it spurred. The second part surveys a broad range of contemporary theories—Neoclassical Theories, the Prototype Theory, the Theory-Theory, and Conceptual Atomism.

About the Editors

Eric Margolis is Professor of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia. Margolis and Laurence are coeditors of Concepts: Core Readings (MIT Press).

Stephen Laurence is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield. Margolis and Laurence are coeditors of Concepts: Core Readings (MIT Press).


“This volume has all the great papers on concepts, with invaluable commentary by the editors. The profound and fascinating essays in the collection are indispensable for anyone interested in the human mind.”
Steven Pinker, Professor and Director, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, MIT, and author ofThe Language Instinct and How the Mind Works
“The problem with concepts is one of the most important and topical issues in philosophy and psychology. To my knowledge—and to my even greater surprise—Margolis and Laurence’s collection is the first exclusively on concepts, not to mention the first that will appeal, by virtue of its outstanding interdisciplinary selections, to philosophers and psychologist. Concepts represents the leading positions on concepts, and its distinguished list of authors include many of the most important thinkers in this field. This is a first-rate anthology.”
Stephen Schiffer, Professor of Philosophy, New York University
“Eric Margolis and Stephen Laurence have brought together key contributions on concepts from philosophers, psychologist, and linguists and have included an Editors’ Introduction that serves as an informative guide to the area. This book provides students and researchers in the cognitive disciplines with the resources that they need in order to tackle the hard questions about concepts.”
Martin Davies, Corpus Christi College, Oxford
“The papers in this volume address the key philosophical and psychological issues involved in the nature of concepts and their acquisition. They represent a broad and deep sweep of the field, and should be required reading for any cognitive scientist interested in concepts.”
Barbara Landau, Professor of Psychology and Linguistics, and Director, Cognitive Science Program, University of Delaware
“The traditional debate among philosophers and psychologists about the nature of concepts has recently been invigorated by interdisciplinary work in cognitive science. Yet until now, there has not been a book which collects together the most important classic and contemporary work on concepts in all these areas of research. Concepts: Core Readings is the book we have been waiting for. The selection of articles is excellent, and the introductory essay by Laurence and Margolis is the best account available of the current state of research on concepts. This is an absolutely indispensable book for anyone with an interest in concepts.”
Tim Crane, University College London
“The debate about the nature of concepts has been a central theme in cognitive science for a quarter of a century. This book, with an excellent introduction, ample historical material and wisely chosen cutting-edge papers, provides an unsurpassable overview of the debate. It is the book to use in any sophisticated course on concepts.”
Stephen P. Stich, Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science, Rutgers University