Next Tuesday, October 16, at the Sala de Juntas of the Faculty of Psychology (UGR), at 4:00 pm, Corinne Bloch-Mullins (Marquette University, USA) will give the talk: “Similarity reimagined: An investigation into its explanatory role in theories of concepts”.
Similarity-based theories of concepts have a broad intuitive appeal and have been successful in accounting for various phenomena related to the formation and application of concepts. Their adequacy as theories of concepts has been questioned, however, as similarity is often taken as too flexible, or too unconstrained, to be explanatory (Goodman 1972). In this paper, I propose a notion of similarity that takes context as integral to the process of comparison, making the similarity relation a fundamentally triadic one. I argue that this account has several advantages over the traditional, dyadic account of similarity. I then show that similarity, as conceived here, is a valuable element in a theory of concepts. First, it offers a way around Goodman’s worry, as it provides internal constraints for similarity judgments in categorization. Second, it facilitates integration and unification between studies on similarity and data on categorization.