Three conditions on conceptual naturalness

Daniel N. Osherson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Human infants are predisposed to organize their experience in terms of certain concepts and not in terms of others. The favored concepts are called natural, the remainder, unnatural. A major problem in psychology is to state a principled distinction between the two kinds of concepts. Toward this end, the present paper offers three, formal necessary conditions on the naturalness of concepts. The conditions attempt to link the problem of naturalness to the distinctions between sense versus nonsense, simplicity versus complexity, and validity versus invalidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-289
Number of pages27
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1978

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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