Small Navigation Menu

Primary Menu


Citation: Shea, Nicholas (2019) Concept-Metacognition. Mind & Language . (In Press)


Creative Commons: Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Concepts are our tools for thinking. They enable us to engage in explicit reasoning about things in the world. Like physical tools, they can be more or less good, given the ways we use them – more or less dependable for categorisation, learning, induction, action-planning, and so on. Do concept users appreciate, explicitly or implicitly, that concepts vary in dependability? Do they feel that some concepts are in some way defective? If so, we metacognize our concepts. One example that has been studied is a person’s judgement about how well they have learnt a new category. There are many other forms that concept-metacognition could take. This paper offers a preliminary taxonomy of different forms of metacognition directed at concepts. It suggests that concept-metacognition may affect the way one concept from a range of candidates is selected for use, and the way a concept is relied on in reasoning. Concept-metacognition may also play a pivotal role in the social process of constructing concepts, in replacing the old and constructing the new tools for thinking.

Creators: Shea, Nicholas (0000-0002-2032-5705) and
Subjects: Philosophy
Keywords: metacognition concepts categorisation confidence reliability
Divisions: Institute of Philosophy
  • 23 January 2019 (accepted)


View details