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Conceptual revolutions

Author: Paul Thagard
Publisher: Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, ©1992.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"In this path-breaking work, Paul Thagard draws on history and philosophy of science, cognitive psychology, and the field of artificial intelligence to develop a theory of conceptual change capable of accounting for all major scientific revolutions. The history of science contains dramatic episodes of revolutionary change in which whole systems of concepts have been replaced by new systems. For example, Copernicus's  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Paul Thagard
ISBN: 0691087458 9780691087450 0691024901 9780691024905
OCLC Number: 23974362
Description: xvi, 285 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Ch. 1. The Problem of Revolutionary Conceptual Change. 1.1. The importance of conceptual change. 1.2. Are there scientific revolutions? 1.3. Theses on conceptual revolutions. 1.4. Overview. 1.5. Summary. 1.6. Appendix: Chronology of revolutions --
Ch. 2. Concepts and Conceptual Systems. 2.1. Philosophical theories of concepts. 2.2. Belief revision versus conceptual change. 2.3. What are concepts for? 2.4. What are concepts? 2.5. Concepts as complex structures. 2.6. Conceptual hierarchies. 2.7. Summary --
Ch. 3. Conceptual Change. 3.1. Degrees of conceptual change. 3.2. The chemical revolution. 3.2.1. Stahl's phlogiston theory. 3.2.2. Lavoisier, 1772. 3.2.3. Lavoisier, 1774. 3.2.4. Lavoisier, 1777. 3.2.5. Lavoisier's mature theory: the 1780s. 3.3. Toward a theory of conceptual change. 3.4. Development of conceptual systems by discovery. 3.4.1. Conceptual combination. 3.4.2. Generalization and abduction. 3.4.3. Special heuristics. 3.5. Replacement by discovery. 3.6. Development and replacement by instruction. 3.7. Summary --
Ch. 4. Explanatory Coherence. 4.1. A theory of explanatory coherence. 4.1.1. Coherence. 4.1.2. Principles of explanatory coherence. 4.1.3. Discussion of the principles. 4.2. ECHO, a computational model of theory evaluation. 4.2.1. Connectionist models. 4.2.2. ECHO, the program. 4.2.3. Explanatory breadth. 4.2.4. Being explained. 4.2.5. Refutation. 4.2.6. Unification. 4.2.7. Simplicity. 4.2.8. Analogy. 4.2.9. Evidence and acceptability. 4.2.10. Parameters. 4.3. Application of ECHO to the chemical revolution. 4.4. Objections and replies. 4.5. Summary. 4.6. Appendix: Technical details of ECHO. 4.6.1. Algorithms. 4.6.2. Sensitivity --
Ch. 5. Theory Dynamics, Rationality, and Explanation. 5.1. Dynamic relations of theories. 5.1.1. Theory replacement. 5.1.2. The relation between the oxygen and phlogiston theories. 5.2. Impediments to rationality. 5.2.1. Conversion and motivated inference. 5.2.2. Sociological explanations. 5.2.3. Translation. 5.3. Philosophical and computational models of explanation. 5.3.1. Strands of explanation. 5.3.2. Toward an integrated cognitive model of explanation. 5.4. Summary --
Ch. 6. The Darwinian Revolution. 6.1. The development of Darwin's theory. 6.2. Conceptual change in evolutionary theory. 6.2.1. Addition and deletion of concepts. 6.2.2. New kind-relations. 6.2.3. Hierarchy reinterpretation. 6.3. The explanatory coherence of Darwin's theory. 6.3.1. Darwin versus the creation hypothesis. 6.3.2. ECHO analysis of Darwin. 6.3.3. Relation of Darwin's theory to its predecessor. 6.3.4. Other interpretations of Darwin's argument. 6.3.5. The reception of Darwin's argument. 6.4. Other revolutions in biology? 6.5. Conceptual evolution? 6.6. Summary --
Ch. 7. The Geological Revolution. 7.1. The conceptual development of plate tectonics. 7.1.1. Historical sketch. 7.1.2. The discovery of continental drift. 7.2. Changes in conceptual structure. 7.2.1. Hierarchy transformation. 7.2.2. Wegener's concepts. 7.2.3. Concepts of Wegener's opponents. 7.2.4. Concepts of Hess and plate tectonics. 7.3. Evaluating theories of continental drift and plate tectonics. 7.3.1. The coherence of continental drift. 7.3.2. The rejection of continental drift. 7.3.3. The acceptance of plate tectonics. 7.4. Summary. 7.5. Appendix --
Ch. 8. Revolutions in Physics. 8.1. Copernicus. 8.1.1. Aristotle. 8.1.2. Ptolemy. 8.1.3. The development of Copernicus's theory. 8.1.4. Conceptual change in Copernicus. 8.1.5. The explanatory coherence of Copernicus's theory. 8.2. Newton. 8.2.1. Newton's conceptual changes. 8.2.2. The explanatory coherence of Newtonian mechanics. 8.3. Einstein. 8.3.1. The development of relativity theory. 8.3.2. Conceptual change in relativity theory. 8.3.3. The explanatory coherence of relativity theory. 8.4. Quantum theory. 8.4.1. The development of quantum theory. 8.4.2. Conceptual change in quantum theory. 8.4.3. The explanatory coherence of quantum theory. 8.5. Forces, quarks, and superstrings. 8.6. Summary --
Ch. 9. Revolutions in Psychology? 9.1. Approaches, framework, and theories. 9.2. Behaviorism. 9.2.1. The development of behaviorism. 9.2.2. Behaviorism and conceptual change. 9.2.3. Behaviorism and explanatory coherence. 9.3. Cognitivism. 9.3.1. The development of cognitivism. 9.3.2. Cognitivism and conceptual change. 9.3.3. Cognitivism and explanatory coherence. 9.3.4. Connectionism. 9.4. Other developments. 9.5. Summary --
Ch. 10. Conceptual Change in Scientists and Children. 10.1. Comparative summary of scientific revolutions. 10.1.1. Discovery and conceptual change. 10.1.2. Explanatory coherence. 10.1.3. Revolutions and scientific knowledge. 10.2. Conceptual change in children. 10.2.1. Are children like scientists? 10.2.2. Changes in children's concepts. 10.2.3. Children's theories. 10.2.4. The growth of knowledge in children and scientists.
Responsibility: Paul Thagard.
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This study draws on the history and philosophy of science, cognitive psychology and the field of artificial intelligence to develop a theory of conceptual change capable of accounting for all major  Read more...

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"Winner of the 1993 Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in the History of Science, Association of American Publishers" "Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) Read more...

 
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    schema:reviewBody ""In this path-breaking work, Paul Thagard draws on history and philosophy of science, cognitive psychology, and the field of artificial intelligence to develop a theory of conceptual change capable of accounting for all major scientific revolutions. The history of science contains dramatic episodes of revolutionary change in which whole systems of concepts have been replaced by new systems. For example, Copernicus's theory of the solar system supplanted Ptolemy's, and Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection replaced earlier creationist views. Thagard provides a new and comprehensive perspective on the transformation of scientific conceptual systems." "In addition to examining the Copernican and the Darwinian revolutions, Thagard turns his attention to the emergence of Newton's mechanics, Lavoisier's oxygen theory, Einstein's theory of relativity, quantum theory, and the geological theory of plate tectonics. He discusses the psychological mechanisms by which new concepts and links between them are formed, and advances a computational theory of explanatory coherence to show how new theories can be judged to be superior to previous ones. To assess whether the field of psychology has undergone revolutions similar to those in physics, chemistry, biology, and geology, he describes the nature and growth of behaviorism and cognitivism. Finally, he compares the transformations in scientific revolutions with the kinds of conceptual change that developmental psychologists have observed in children." "Conceptual Revolutions is essential reading for historians and philosophers of science, and has important implications as well for research in cognitive science. It is clearly written and should be accessible to anyone interested in problems of scientific change."--Jacket." ;
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