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Object and Event Concepts: A Cognitive Mechanism of Incommensurability

Chen, Xiang (2002) Object and Event Concepts: A Cognitive Mechanism of Incommensurability. [Preprint]

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Abstract

In this paper I examine a cognitive mechanism of incommensurability. Using the frame model of concept representation to capture structural relations within concepts, I reveal an ontological difference between object and event concepts: the former are spatial but the latter temporal. Experiments from cognitive sciences further demonstrate that the mind treats object and event concepts differently. Thus, incommensurability can occur in conceptual change across different ontological categories. I use a historical case to illustrate how the ontological difference between an object and an event concept actually caused incommensurability in the context of 19th-century optics. The cognitive and historical analyses indicate that incommensurability can be a local phenomenon and does not necessarily imply incomparability.


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Item Type: Preprint
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Chen, Xiang
Keywords: Theory Change, Cognitive Science, History of Science Case Studies, General Philosophy of Science
Depositing User: Program Committee
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2003
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:11
Item ID: 1060
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/1060

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