A mathematical theory of sign-mediated concept formation

Yair Neuman, Ophir Nave

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Cognitive theories of concept formation have usually ignored the fact that, as a natural part of their cognitive development, people form concepts through the linguistic mediation of signs. In this paper, we propose a mathematical theory of sign-mediated concept formation (SMCF). This theory relies heavily on ideas from category theory, specifically the ideas of pushout and pullback. The theory addresses some of the major problems in modeling concept formation, including family resemblance and contextuality, and has potential applications for a wide variety of tasks involving concept computation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-81
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Mathematics and Computation
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2008


  • Category theory
  • Concept formation
  • Interdisciplinary research
  • Pullback
  • Pushout
  • Semiotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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