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Articulating the World: Experimental Systems and Conceptual Understanding

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Attention to scientific practice offers a novel response to philosophical queries about how conceptual understanding is empirically accountable. The locus of the issue is thereby shifted, from perceptual experience to experimental and fieldwork interactions. More important, conceptual articulation is shown to be not merely ‘spontaneous’ and intralinguistic, but instead involves a establishing a systematic domain of experimental operations. The importance of experimental practice for conceptual understanding is especially clearly illustrated by cases in which entire domains of scientific investigation were first made accessible to articulated conceptual understanding. We thereby see more clearly how experimental systems themselves, and not merely the theories and models they make possible, have an intentional directedness and ‘representational’ import.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2011

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