ERIC Number: ED237438
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983
Reference Count: 0
Is a Concept a Class of Particulars Having Attributes in Common or Not?
Fraenkel, Jack R.
This paper critiques Aumaugher's argument which states that the traditional view of concepts as a class of things with common attributes is an insufficient one, and, instead, offers a counterview, stemming from the work of Wittgenstein, which says that a concept is a term's use in the language. Aumaugher states that concept-terms are not always, if ever, used to refer to a set of cases having a feature in common. But this is somewhat misleading, because there are many concepts which are classificatory in nature. Examples include tourist, cat, tax, and game. Aumaugher then goes on to say that Wittgenstein's work suggests that if we wish to teach a concept, we should not set out to look for a feature or set of features that is common to the concepts, but, instead, should examine examples of the concept (games, for example) and look for a network of overall similarities. While there is nothing wrong or harmful in using Aumaugher's teaching approach, it may leave students without a basic reference point to use when trying to identify concepts. Furthermore, there are many concepts which do not lend themselves to being defined through the identification of attributes-in-common. (RM)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Wittgenstein (Ludwig)
Note: CUFA Presentation to the National Council for the Social Studies (San Francisco, CA, November, 1983).