The concrete universal and cognitive science
Cognitive science depends on abstractions made from the complex reality of human behaviour. Cognitive scientists typically wish the abstractions in their theories to be universals, but seldom attend to the ontology of universals. Two sorts of universal, resulting from Galilean abstraction and materialist abstraction respectively, are available in the philosophical literature: the abstract universal—the one-over-many universal—is the universal conventionally employed by cognitive scientists; in contrast, a concrete universal is a material entity that can appear within the set of entities it describes, of which it represents the essential, paradigmatic case. The potential role of concrete universals in cognitive science is discussed.
Shillcock, R. (2014). The concrete universal and cognitive science. Axiomathes 24 (1), pp. 63-80.
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