Theory change as dimensional change: conceptual spaces applied to the dynamics of empirical theories

Synthese 190 (6):1039-1058 (2013)
Abstract
This paper offers a novel way of reconstructing conceptual change in empirical theories. Changes occur in terms of the structure of the dimensions—that is to say, the conceptual spaces—underlying the conceptual framework within which a given theory is formulated. Five types of changes are identified: (1) addition or deletion of special laws, (2) change in scale or metric, (3) change in the importance of dimensions, (4) change in the separability of dimensions, and (5) addition or deletion of dimensions. Given this classification, the conceptual development of empirical theories becomes more gradual and rationalizable. Only the most extreme type—replacement of dimensions—comes close to a revolution. The five types are exemplified and applied in a case study on the development within physics from the original Newtonian mechanics to special relativity theory
Keywords Conceptual spaces  Dimensional analysis  Incommensurability  Newtonian mechanics  Scientific revolution  Special relativity theory  Theory change
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-011-0060-0
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,694
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
The Road Since Structure.Kuhn Thomas (ed.) - 2000 - University of Chicago Press.

View all 36 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
What Verities May Be.Igor Douven & Lieven Decock - 2017 - Mind 126 (502):386-428.
Continuity of Theory Structure: A Conceptual Spaces Approach.Frank Zenker & Peter Gärdenfors - 2016 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 30 (4):343-360.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Reconstruction of the Optical Revolution: Lakatos Vs. Laudan.Xiang Chen - 1988 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:103 - 109.
Kuhn, Incommensurability, and Cognitive Science.Peter Barker - 2001 - Perspectives on Science 9 (4):433-462.
Conceptual Change.Paul Thagard - 2003 - In L. Nadel (ed.), Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. Nature Publishing Group.
The Conceptual Structure of the Chemical Revolution.Paul Thagard - 1990 - Philosophy of Science 57 (2):183-209.
Notes Toward an Analysis of Conceptual Change.Mark Bevir - 2003 - Social Epistemology 17 (1):55 – 63.
Added to PP index
2012-01-25

Total downloads
154 ( #31,741 of 2,197,244 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #298,964 of 2,197,244 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature