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【報告】The 52nd meeting of Tokyo Colloquium of Cognitive Philosophy

2015.02.17 信原幸弘

The speaker of the 52th TCCP was Teru Miyake (Nanyang Technological University). This is a summary of his presentation, which was titled “Scientific Change: A Complexity-Based Approach?.”


Does scientific theory change incrementally? Can we view it as more or less a repository of knowledge to which we add more and more facts, or does the change occur in a much more radical fashion, through long periods of “normal science” punctuated by radical revolutions? The problem of understanding scientific change has been a central challenge for philosophy of science since the publication of Kuhn's Structure in 1962, but no consensus view has emerged. This paper aims to take some preliminary steps towards taking concepts and methods from the growing field of Complexity and applying them towards the problem of understanding scientific change.

I first propose the working hypothesis that a significant part of what has traditionally been called “scientific theory” by philosophers of science is better conceptualized as intangible technology (in a sense that I explain in more detail in the paper), and the ways in which scientific theory has changed can be analyzed in terms of a theory of technological change. Technological change is an active area of research in the field of Complexity, and this project will attempt to bring this research, particularly that of Brian Arthur (2009), to bear on the philosophy of science. I outline a project for examining, from the standpoint of this framework, the development of British physics in the nineteenth century.

(Teru Miyake)

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