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- DescriptionHow do vel scientific concepts arise? In Creating Scientific Concepts, Nancy Nersessian seeks to answer this central but virtually unasked question in the problem of conceptual change. She argues that the popular image of vel concepts and profound insight bursting forth in a blinding flash of inspiration is mistaken. Instead, vel concepts are shown to arise out of the interplay of three factors: an attempt to solve specific problems; the use of conceptual, analytical, and material resources provided by the cognitive-social-cultural context of the problem; and dynamic processes of reasoning that extend ordinary cognition. Focusing on the third factor, Nersessian draws on cognitive science research and historical accounts of scientific practices to show how scientific and ordinary cognition lie on a continuum, and how problem-solving practices in one illuminate practices in the other. Her investigations of scientific practices show conceptual change as deriving from the use of analogies, imagistic representations, and thought experiments, integrated with experimental investigations and mathematical analyses. She presents a view of constructed models as hybrid objects, serving as intermediaries between targets and analogical sources in bootstrapping processes. Extending these results, she argues that these complex cognitive operations and structures are t mere aids to discovery, but that together they constitute a powerful form of reasoning -- model-based reasoning -- that generates velty. This new approach to mental modeling and analogy, together with Nersessian's cognitive-historical approach, make Creating Scientific Concepts equally valuable to cognitive science and philosophy of science.
- Author BiographyArild Underdal is Professor of Political Science at the University of Oslo.
- PrizesWinner of Patrick Suppes Prize in the Philosophy of Science 2011.
- Author(s)Nancy J. Nersessian
- PublisherMIT Press Ltd
- Date of Publication03/09/2010
- SubjectScience: General & Reference
- Series TitleBradford Books
- Place of PublicationMassachusetts
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintBradford Books
- Content Note54 figures
- Weight363 g
- Width152 mm
- Height229 mm
- Spine12 mm
- Format DetailsTrade paperback (US)
- Interest AgeFrom 18
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