Does there exist a class of "fundamental concepts"?

That is concepts, such as "parameter", "part", "range", "form" etc. that at least for me seem like "something that is hard to take away without thinking and sensing becoming very difficult". Like imagine, if you couldn't use the concept "range" at all. This kind of subjective perception could suggest that some concepts are "biological fundamentals", that they are somehow "in-built", even if we changed the particular word associated with that "sensation". One could perhaps e.g. argue that even if one removed or changed the word for said concept, its existence would still be "in senses, such as eye structure".

How could they be recognized?


1 Answer 1


One project that has attempted to identify fundamental concepts of human cognition is the Natural Semantic Metalanguage project. Through their research they have identified around 65 semantic primes: concepts that are universal and irreducible. PART is indeed one of these semantic primes. "Parameter" is not, it would be a derived concept, but just because it's not fundamental doesn't mean that it's missing. People who need to make use of the concept of parameters can do so, or they can be taught about the concept first. As to the senses, NSM researches have identified SEE, HEAR, and FEEL as universal semantic primes.

  • Good. SEE, HEAR and FEEL are very intuitive, but I'm almost certain that PARAMETER should be a prime for computer age humans. Or even just industrialized humans, since basically all production involves parameters (e.g. a count and different types of inputs).
    – mavavilj
    Feb 5, 2022 at 18:54

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