Modeling Diachronic Changes in Structuralism and in Conceptual Spaces

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Journal Article
Erkenntnis, 2014, 79 pp. 1547 - 1561
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© 2013, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Our aim in this article is to show how the theory of conceptual spaces can be useful in describing diachronic changes to conceptual frameworks, and thus useful in understanding conceptual change in the empirical sciences. We also compare the conceptual space approach to Moulines’s typology of intertheoretical relations in the structuralist tradition. Unlike structuralist reconstructions, those based on conceptual spaces yield a natural way of modeling the changes of a conceptual framework, including noncumulative changes, by tracing the changes to the dimensions that reconstitute a conceptual framework. As a consequence, the incommensurability of empirical theories need not be viewed as a matter of conceptual representation.
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