#concept18 mentions

A concept is a “cluster of dispositions to be responsive to differences in a particular region of possible worlds”Haslanger (2020), 239

. It enables distinctions and thus represents a class of things in widest sense, from perceivable objects to abstractions and theoretical posits.

Concepts have a set of ideally complementary functions:

There is an ongoing debate whether their contribution to “modelling the world” or to “solving coordination problems” is the original evolved function of concepts (the other one being a later exaptation).This is similar to the question whether the functional or informational character of a Model is the primary one.

In general, Concepts evolve to be useful; they are useful when they fulfil (some of) these functions, which will be judged differently from different social positions.

They can fulfil their functions efficiently because Concepts are compressed models – they make the models’ salient features accessible with less cognitive effort.

Every concept is part of a Concept Network, the position in which determines the concept’s specific function and content.

As compressed models and network components, Concepts are attractors.

To gain more Knowledge as well as Justice, we need to Foster both continuity and disruption of concepts, i.e. induce phases of stabilisation and destabilisation of these attractors.


Concept Mapping

What Concept Mapping is a tool for collaborative Sensemaking.

Concept Network

Concepts are part of a concept network, the position in which determines the concept’s meaning, that is its specific function and content.

Concepts Are Attractors

Because Concepts are compressed models, and Models are Systems themselves, Concepts are also systems.

Concepts Are Compressed Models

A Concept is an interface to expose and connect some Models’ salient features.

Conceptual Engineering

Conceptual Engineering can mean - building things with Concepts, for example Models or Frameworks; - assessment and amelioration of concepts to improve their usefulness.

Conceptual Metaphor

A conceptual metaphor is a metaphor with the help of which one Concept or conceptual domain is understood in terms of another.


Originally an occult concept referring to “a non-physical entity that arises from the collective thoughts of a distinct group of people”[^definition], it can also be understood as denoting a Meme, focusing on the meme’s point of view and agency in Cultural Evolution.

Explain Away Folk Ontology

When revising Concepts in Conceptual Engineering, use Deflationary Explanations to get rid of Folk Ontology and Magical Thinking in order to make our thinking more precise, accountable and empirically adequate.

Explicit Model

An explicit Model is a consciously articulated, interpretive description of a target System that can be the object of the modelling system’s attention.

Missing System

A missing system is a hypothetical System described by a Model that doesn’t track real System Boundaries – a system that doesn’t exist (in the hypothesised boundaries).


A model is a simplified representation of a System.

Rationality Is an Evolved Strategy

It is a fact about our social and epistemic lives that Rationality is a norm that guides our thinking about beliefs and hypotheses; it is a Concept we use to direct thinking and discourse.

Replace Sensemaking Frameworks with Scale Free Abstractions

We want to maximise scope, detail, and cognitive efficiency of Sensemaking.

Revise Concepts to Critique Ideology

In Conceptual Engineering, propose improvements to Concepts that expose and critique Ideology, making Ideological Oppression visible and enabling its subversion.

Sensemaking Framework

A Sensemaking framework is the codification of useful sensemaking practices[^useful], i.

Shorthand Abstraction

Shorthand Abstractions are Concepts that enable us to build more complex Explicit Models by compressing the models they stand in for.


A theory is the description or external representation of an Explicit Model and its Concepts, in advanced sciences using mathematical equations.

Treat Concepts as Nodes in a Network

When doing Conceptual Engineering, treat individual Concepts as nodes in a Concept Network, the position in which determines the concept’s function and content.