The Process of Conceptual Change
This chapter argues that Quinian bootstrapping underlies conceptual change, illustrating with examples drawn from conceptual change in the history of science as well as from conceptual change in childhood. It begins by discussing three accounts of the processes involved in theory construction that have wide currency: (1) historically, CS2 is socially constructed, and each child's individual construction is also a social process; (2) the transition between CS1 and CS2 is achieved via noting contradictions and inconsistencies within CS1 itself or as it applies to the world; and (3) domain-general cognitive development yields resources the child can draw upon for the purpose of theory construction. It argues that each of these proposals fails to fully engage the problem. The chapter shows how each falls short of the account wanted here, and then turns to a positive proposal.
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