Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Barsalou: Perpetual symbol systems

Individuals are abstractions

James R. Hurford a1
a1 Department of Linguistics, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH8 9LL, Scotland, United Kingdom


Barsalou's move to a perceptual basis for cognition is welcome. His scheme contrasts with classical logical schemes in many ways, including its implications for the status of individuals. Barsalou deals mainly with perceived individuals, omitting discussion of cognized individuals. It is argued that the individuality of cognized individuals is an abstraction, which conforms in its manner of formation to other cognitive abstractions which Barsalou discusses, such as truth and disjunction.