A Request for Advice on Constructing a Bibliography on Concepts

Greetings to the Brains community.  My name is Mike Ferreira; I’m a student in the Philosophy department at Ohio State.  I write because I’m in the early stages of constructing the bibliography on which I’ll be tested for candidacy. This is a request for input in the form of suggestions for additions and omissions to what I’ve got so far.

Taken from the OSU Department website:

‘The purpose of the Candidacy Examination is to assess the student’s mastery of the literature included on the Bibliography…and to assess, as well, the student’s facility in explicating the philosophical issues that are connected with that literature…’

Generally speaking, students typically go on to write a dissertation in the area they did their candidacy work in.

The general theme, as you’ll see, is intended to be ‘Concepts’, with broader inclusions to do with Intentionality and Mental Content.  There’s some flexibility with regard to the length of the reading list, but there is a crucial time constraint to keep in mind.  Right now the list is too long.  I’ll be tested in early January of ’09.  That gives me a little less than a year (from the time of bibliography approval in Spring ’08) to get a handle on the body of literature selected.  In keeping the list managable, I also need to consider that I’ll have to take several seminars and grade/TA during the roughly 9-10 months I have to prepare. 

Please comment and/or contact me directly (ferreira.23@osu.edu).  Thanks in advance for your input. 


  1. Well, I have to like that bibliography, ’cause I’m on it. But I would add some of these:

    Markman, A.B. (1997). Knowledge Representation. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Anderson, J. R. (1991). The adaptive nature of human categorization. Psychological Review, 98, 409-429.

    Murphy, G.L., & Medin, D.L. (1985). The role of theories in conceptual coherence. Psychological Review, 92(3), 289-316.

    Rehder, B., & Kim, S. (2006). How causal knowledge affects classification: A generative theory of categorization. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 32, 659-683.

    And since one of the major theories of concepts/categories over the last 25-30 years has been the exemplar theory, and with the exception of Medin and Smith’s book, you don’t seem to have included anything from that camp, you might add something. Maybe just:

    Medin, D.L. & Schaffer, M.M. (1978). Context theory of classification learning. Psychological Review, 85, 207-238.

    Or something by Rob Nosofsky at Indiana.

  2. You should add the following (amazing papers):

    Machery, E. 2005. Concepts are Not a Natural Kind. Philosophy of Science, 72, 444-467.

    Machery, E. 2006. How to Split Concepts. Reply to Piccinini and Scott. Philosophy of Science, 73, 410-418.

    Piccinini, G. and Scott, S. 2006. Splitting Concepts. Philosophy of Science, 73, 390-409.

    Weiskopf, D. ms. the plurality of concepts.

    In my mind, these are the most original papers written on concepts in philosophy for the last 10 years. But, of course, I am biased 🙂


  3. anna-mari

    Hmmm… You don´t have to like it, and you don´t have to agree with it, and you can be angry about it, but still you should read it.

    Fodor: Concepts. Where Cognitive Science went wrong.

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