• Concepts in theoretical thought: an introductory essay

    Lajos Brons (see profile)
    Idea (Philosophy), History, Intellectual life, Philosophy
    Item Type:
    History of ideas, Intellectual history
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    The idea that our language somehow influences our thought can be found in various philosophical and scientific traditions, but beyond the mere theoretical, explorations of the idea are relatively scarce, and are mostly limited to relations between very concrete conceptual categories and subjective experiencing and remembering – to some kind of ‘psychologies of folk-ontology’. Thought as process, reasoning or ‘thinking’, and the role of more complex or abstract concepts in (such) thought tend to be mostly ignored in psychology and philosophy. Conceptual and intellectual history, on the other hand, cannot be accused of such neglect, but the common lack of a comparative perspective in those fields precludes any generalized inference. Furthermore, while a comparative study on the role of complex or abstract concepts in thought as process and its products (the aggregate ‘thought’ of schools, ages, and regions) could result in a considerable enrichment of our understanding of the relationships between language and thought, it would not necessarily be recognized as such because of a fundamental difference in the nature of the concepts involved, affecting the boundary of ‘language’ in the pair ‘language and thought’. More concretely, while the concepts of the ‘psychologies of folk-ontology’ are rather concrete categories of ‘things’ or aspects of experienced reality (hence, ‘folk-ontology’), the abstract concepts of (comparative) conceptual history, such as ‘society’ or ‘reason’, are categories of ideas. Consequently, conceptual history is inseparably tied to the history of ideas, and there is no strict boundary line between concepts, theories, ideas, and aggregate thought in general.
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    Last Updated:
    6 years ago
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