A Theory of Concepts for a Transient Mind


This essay asserts a theory of concepts that accounts for the transient nature of mind and matter. It is a defense of the empiricist position. The essay uses aspects of Hume’s position, and interacts with his empiricist theory throughout, rejecting and affirming different aspects of it. Due to the nature of probability, I defend the use of an empiricist perspective that discusses the realm of the physical world. This is the method taken in the essay.

I next discuss time, matter, and energy in the context of a transient material world. From this the conclusion is made that we are only able to perceive continuity and substance in the material world. These two inspire both our sensations and concepts. The particular character of our continuous sensation is the basis of concepts.

Due to our unified perception and memory, we have basic structures embedded in our perception which we turn into experienceable relationships with our concepts. These in turn can be applied and reapplied by mind to trace structures in perception and gain knowledge of the material world.

The basic unit of concept asserted in this theory is simple, but due to the different contexts of mind in which it functions it is able to explain knowledge, thought, and perception. The crux of the project is that the transience of mind is how concepts have the powerful ability to make structures in sensation conscious.


Hustwit, Ronald




Concepts, Mind

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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