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The Origin of Concepts$
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Susan Carey

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195367638

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195367638.001.0001

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Beyond Core Object Cognition

Beyond Core Object Cognition

(p.361) 10 Beyond Core Object Cognition
The Origin of Concepts

Susan Carey

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers a type of knowledge structure that is different in many ways from mathematical representations: intuitive theories. It begins with an analysis of local incommensurability from the historical and philosophical literatures. It gives a sense of what incommensurability is, drawing on historical examples. The historical differentiation of the concepts heat and temperature from an earlier undifferentiated concept degree of heat provides a worked example of a conceptual change and lays the groundwork for what evidence is required to establish episodes of conceptual change in childhood. The rest of the chapter works through a parallel case of conceptual change in childhood: the construction of a theory of matter in which the concept material is differentiated from physically real, and the concept weight from density.

Keywords:   conceptual change, thermal concepts, theory of matter, intuitive theories

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