André J. Abath

Fedeeral University of Minas Gerais

On Knowing What Something Is:
Towards an Account of Concept Attributions

20 September 2019, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: In recent years, attributions of knowledge-wh—knowledge who, what, when, where, which, why etc.—have attracted much attention from philosophers and linguists alike, with many arguing that a unified linguistic account of these attributions can be given (Karttunen, 1977; Groenendijk & Stokhof, 1982; Schaffer, 2007). These attributions have also attracted attention from those interested in the debate surrounding states of knowing how, such as Stanley and Williamson (2001), who have tried to show that the nature of these states can be clarified by unifying attributions of know-how with those of knowledge-wh. In this talk, I will try to show that existing accounts of knowledge-wh can also throw light in a different philosophical debate, that concerning concepts. More specifically, I will try to show that there is much to be gained by analyzing direct concept attributions in terms of attributions of a kind of knowledge-wh, the knowledge of what something is. Thus, a direct concept attribution, such as (1) “Jane has the concept of a jaguar”, is to be analyzed in terms of (2) “Jane knows what a jaguar is”. Once we do so, the accounts of knowledge-wh available in the literature can help us to provide a framework for a systematic treatment of concept attributions. Given that any such treatment is lacking in the literature, this is of interest in itself. But I will also try to show that issues related to concept possession and concept learning can also be clarified by the account of concept attributions to be sketched here.

Elton Marques, full member of LanCog, was accepted to attend The Metaphysics of Time Continuum Summer School organized by the Society for the Philosophy of Time, the University of Siegen, the Goethe Institut in Genova, the Theatre Spazio Vuoto and the online journal Philosophy Kitchen.

This year edition will be devoted to the question of continuity of time, by analysing the works of Aristotle, Kant, and Bergson.


The Summer School will be held in Imperia, Italy, from the 2nd to the 4th of September 2019.

Professor Carlos João Correia is travelling to Brazil this August where he is going to attend the 12th International Whitehead Conference. Process as Creativity-Process as Concern. This Conference on the 20th century English philosopher and mathematician is going to be held at the University of Brasília on 27-30 August.

Carlos João Correia is giving the talk “Whitehead and Locke”, part of the Conference’s Section “Whitehead and Continental Philosophy”.

The Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia just published this month its most recent volume, dedicated exclusively to the Iberian School for Peace, Natural Law and Human Dignity. The July issue was edited by Pedro Calafate, Full Professor at our University and Senior Researcher, and by Álvaro Balsas, SJ., Professor and Researcher at the Catholic University of Portugal (Braga).

In his latest research project De Restitutione – The Iberian School for Peace and the idea of ​​justice in the occupation of America (16th century), which began less than four years ago, Professor Pedro Calafate deepens what he had started years before with the several in-depth studies on Father António Vieira, his thought and those of other Iberian philosophers and writers, the Portuguese culture and the People of the New World, the encounters and texts that, today, are so interesting and necessary. The celebration, last December, of the seventy years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights shows the relevance of addressing the topics brought up by the Iberian School for Peace’s writings and authors.


See the index here.

See the Journal’s webpage here.



The latest issue of Disputatio (vol. XI, Nº52, May 2019) is now available!

This regular issue has articles on propostions, personal identity and John Searle.


Disputatio is an open access journal published by the De Gruyter, and is available here.