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The Southern Journal of Philosophy

Volume 45, Issue 3, Fall 2007

Jack M. C. Kwong
Pages 413-434

Is Conceptual Atomism a Plausible Theory of Concepts?

Conceptual atomism is the view according to which most lexical concepts lack ‘internal’ or constituent structure. To date, it has not received much attention from philosophers and psychologists. A central reason is that it is thought to be an implausible theory of concepts, resulting in untenable implications. The main objective of this paper is to present conceptual atomism as a viable alternative, with a view to achieving two aims: the first, to characterize and to elucidate conceptual atomism; and the second, to dispel some misconceptions associated with it. My aim is to show that the prospect of conceptual atomism is a promising one.

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