Why did John Herschel fail to understand polarization? The differences between object and event concepts

This paper offers a solution to a problem in Herschel studies by drawing on the dynamic frame model for concept representation offered by cognitive psychology. Applying the frame model to represent the conceptual frameworks of the particle and wave theories, this paper shows that discontinuity between the particle and wave frameworks consists mainly in the transition from a particle notion 'side' to a wave notion 'phase difference'. By illustrating intraconceptual relations within concepts, the frame representations reveal the ontological differences between these two concepts. 'Side' is an object concept built on spatial relations, but 'phase difference' is an event concept built on temporal relations. The conceptual analyses display a possible cognitive source of Herschel's misconception of polarization. Limited by his experimental works and his philosophical beliefs, Herschel comprehended polarization solely in terms of spatial relations, which prevented him from replacing the object concept 'side' with the event concept 'phase difference', and eventually resulted in his failure to understand the wave account of polarization.
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DOI 10.1016/S0039-3681(03)00044-X
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References found in this work BETA
Mental Models in Cognitive Science.P. N. Johnson‐Laird - 1980 - Cognitive Science 4 (1):71-115.
Taxonomic Changes and the Particle-Wave Debate in Early Nineteenth-Century Britain.Xiang Chen - 1995 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 26 (2):251-271.

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Citations of this work BETA
A Frame-Theoretic Analysis of Two Rival Conceptions of Heat.Ioannis Votsis & Gerhard Schurz - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (1):105-114.
A Different Kind of Revolutionary Change: Transformation From Object to Process Concepts.Xiang Chen - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (2):182-191.

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