Bertani, Giuseppe (2001) How do we know? A scientist's view. [Preprint]
A professional biologist outlines a non-metaphysical, Darwinian, conceptual framework within which knowledge, its acquisition and evolution could be visualized and studied. The scheme assumes personal uniqueness of concept-concept and concept-word relations, their modification through new experiences, interpersonal exchanges, or joint constructive efforts, and their confluence into larger networks ("concept clouds"). Knowledge expressible in words may be seen as organized in "public concept clouds". New sciences may be seen as accretion, branching or reshuffling of existing public concept clouds, or as new independent public concept clouds based on circular definitions. Reason, logic, mathematics are assumed to be products of biological evolution. The limits to social constructivism are briefly discussed. Continuity of science and philosophy is advocated. Annotations tentatively relate these views to past and current trends in philosophy.
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