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Metacognition and Abstract Concepts

Citation: Shea, Nicholas (2018) Metacognition and Abstract Concepts. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B . ISSN 0962-8436


Creative Commons: Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0

The problem of how concepts can refer to or be about the non‐mental world is particularly puzzling for abstract concepts. There is growing evidence that many characteristics beyond the perceptual are involved in grounding different kinds of abstract concept. A resource that has been suggested, but little explored, is introspection. This paper develops that suggestion by focusing specifically on metacognition—on the thoughts and feelings that thinkers have about a concept. One example of metacognition about concepts is the judgement that we should defer to others in how a given concept is used. Another example is our internal assessment of which concepts are dependable and useful, and which less so. Metacognition of this kind may be especially important for grounding abstract concepts.

Creators: Shea, Nicholas (0000-0002-2032-5705) and
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Subjects: Philosophy
Keywords: abstract concepts, grounding, linguistic labels, deference, metacognition, philosophy
Divisions: Institute of Philosophy
  • 28 March 2018 (accepted)
  • 18 June 2018 (published)


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