Bridging Instrumentalism and Intellectualism about Concepts
Elisabeth Camp has sought to reconcile two divergent ways of defining concepts: making concepts useful for (1) empirical explanations of animal cognition and human development and (2) intellectualist accounts of what makes human minds distinct. I argue that Camp's instrumentalism about concepts, which makes a robust form of stimulus independence necessary for having conceptually articulated thought, takes a valuable step forward, but falls short of her goal of reconciling these two traditions. To complete the work of reconciliation, I argue that John Haugeland's distinctive form of intellectualism is compatible with Camp's theory of concepts and also sufficient to answer intellectualist motivations to differentiate rational, human understanding. The upshot is that a select group of problem-solving animals have conceptually articulated thought, which gives them a kind of distance from their environment, whereas humans additionally enjoy a second distance that allows us to reflect on conceptually articulated thought itself.