Folk concepts and intuitions: From philosophy to cognitive science

Shaun Nichols

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Analytic philosophers have long used a priori methods to characterize folk concepts such as knowledge, belief and wrongness. Recently, researchers have begun to exploit social scientific methodologies to characterize such folk concepts. One line of work has explored folk intuitions with cases that are disputed within philosophy. A second approach, with potentially more radical implications, applies the methods of cross-cultural psychology to philosophical intuitions. Recent work in this area suggests that people in different cultures have systematically different intuitions surrounding folk concepts. A third strand of research explores the emergence and character of folk concepts in children. These approaches to characterizing folk concepts provide important resources that will supplement, and perhaps in some cases displace, a priori approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)514-518
Number of pages5
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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