The object bias and the study of scientific revolutions: Lessons from developmental psychology

Philosophical Psychology 20 (4):479 – 503 (2007)
I propose a new perspective on the study of scientific revolutions. This is a transformation from an object-only perspective to an ontological perspective that properly treats objects and processes as distinct kinds. I begin my analysis by identifying an object bias in the study of scientific revolutions, where it takes the form of representing scientific revolutions as changes in classification of physical objects. I further explore the origins of this object bias. Findings from developmental psychology indicate that children cannot distinguish processes from objects until the age of 7, but they have already developed a core system of object knowledge as early as 4 months of age. The persistence of this core system is responsible for the object bias among mature adults, i.e., the tendency to apply knowledge of physical objects to temporal processes. In light of the distinction between physical objects and temporal processes, I redraw the picture of the Copernican revolution. Rather than seeing it as a taxonomic shift from a geocentric to a heliocentric cosmology, we should understand it as a transformation from a conceptual system that was built around an object concept to one that was built around a process concept.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 14,275
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Peter Barker (2002). Constructing Copernicus. Perspectives on Science 10 (2):208-227.

View all 19 references

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

22 ( #121,093 of 1,700,408 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #128,702 of 1,700,408 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.