David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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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.
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References found in this work BETA
Peter Barker (2002). Constructing Copernicus. Perspectives on Science 10 (2):208-227.
Peter Barker (1990). Copernicus, the Orbs, and the Equant. Synthese 83 (2):317 - 323.
Peter Barker & Bernard R. Goldstein (1998). Realism and Instrumentalism in Sixteenth Century Astronomy: A Reappraisal. Perspectives on Science 6 (3):232-258.
Susan Carey (2001). The Representation of Number in Natural Language Syntax and in Language of Thought: A Case Study of the Evolution and Development of Representational Resources. In João Branquinho (ed.), The Foundations of Cognitive Science. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 23--53.
X. Chen (2003). Why Did John Herschel Fail to Understand Polarization? The Differences Between Object and Event Concepts. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 34 (3):491-513.
Citations of this work BETA
Peter Barker (2011). The Cognitive Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Erkenntnis 75 (3):445-465.
Xiang Chen (2010). A Different Kind of Revolutionary Change: Transformation From Object to Process Concepts. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (2):182-191.
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