Can scientific development and children's cognitive development be the same process?

Philosophy of Science 66 (4):565-578 (1999)
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In this paper I assess Gopnik and Meltzoff's developmental psychology of science as a contribution to the understanding of scientific development. I focus on two specific aspects of Gopnik and Meltzoff's approach: the relation between their views and recapitulationist views of ontogeny and phylogeny in biology, and their overall conception of cognition as a set of veridical processes. First, I discuss several issues that arise from their appeal to evolutionary biology, focusing specifically on the role of distinctions between ontogeny and phylogeny when appealing to biology for theoretical support. Second, I argue that to presuppose that cognition is veridical or "truth-tropic" can compromise attempts to understand scientific cognition both throughout history and in the present. Finally, I briefly sketch an evolutionary approach to understanding scientific development that contrasts with Gopnik and Meltzoff's



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Stephen M. Downes
University of Utah

References found in this work

Ontogeny and Phylogeny.Stephen Jay Gould - 1978 - Philosophy of Science 45 (4):652-653.
Folk Psychology and the Explanation of Human Behaviour.Paul Churchland & John Haldane - 1988 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 62 (1):209-254.
The scientist as child.Alison Gopnik - 1996 - Philosophy of Science 63 (4):485-514.

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