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date: 10 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter evaluates the case for treating concepts as causal models, the view that people conceive of a categories as consisting of not only features but also the causal relations that link those features. In particular, it reviews the role of causal models in category-based induction. Category-based induction consists of drawing inferences about either objects or categories; in the latter case one generalizes a feature to a category (and thus its members). How causal knowledge influences how categories are formed in the first place—causal-based category discovery—is also examined. Whereas the causal model approach provides a generally compelling account of a large variety of inductive inferences, certain key discrepancies between the theory and empirical findings are highlighted. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the new sorts of representations, tasks, and tests that should be applied to the causal model approach to concepts.

Keywords: causal model, induction, category, inference, concept, empirical

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