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Compositionality and Concepts

Hampton, J. A. ORCID: 0000-0002-0363-8232 (2017). Compositionality and Concepts. In: Compositionality and Concepts in Linguistics and Psychology. (pp. 95-121). Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-45977-6_4


In this chapter I aim to explain how psychology understands concepts, and why there is a need for semantic theory to take on the challenge of psychological data. All of the contributors to this volume are (presumably) in the business of trying to understand and explain how language has meaning, and the primary source of evidence for this has to be our intuitions of what things mean. Furthermore, if my semantic intuitions (as a theorist) are out of kilter with those of the common language user, then it is my theory which should be called into question and not the lay intuition. This chapter describes a range of results from my research program over the last 30 years, some old and some new, with the aim of giving a general account of using Prototype Theory as a way to explain semantic intuitions.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2017 Open Access This chapter is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this chapter are included in the chapter’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the chapter’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

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