Creating Scientific Concepts

Author: Nancy J Nersessian
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262293455
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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How do novel scientific concepts arise? In Creating Scientific Concepts, Nancy Nersessian seeks to answer this central but virtually unasked question in the problem of conceptual change. She argues that the popular image of novel concepts and profound insight bursting forth in a blinding flash of inspiration is mistaken. Instead, novel concepts are shown to arise out of the interplay of three factors: an attempt to solve specific problems; the use of conceptual, analytical, and material resources provided by the cognitive-social-cultural context of the problem; and dynamic processes of reasoning that extend ordinary cognition. Focusing on the third factor, Nersessian draws on cognitive science research and historical accounts of scientific practices to show how scientific and ordinary cognition lie on a continuum, and how problem-solving practices in one illuminate practices in the other. Her investigations of scientific practices show conceptual change as deriving from the use of analogies, imagistic representations, and thought experiments, integrated with experimental investigations and mathematical analyses. She presents a view of constructed models as hybrid objects, serving as intermediaries between targets and analogical sources in bootstrapping processes. Extending these results, she argues that these complex cognitive operations and structures are not mere aids to discovery, but that together they constitute a powerful form of reasoning -- model-based reasoning -- that generates novelty. This new approach to mental modeling and analogy, together with Nersessian's cognitive-historical approach, make Creating Scientific Concepts equally valuable to cognitive science and philosophy of science.

The Geometry of Meaning

Author: Peter Gärdenfors
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262026783
Format: PDF, ePub
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A novel cognitive theory of semantics that proposes that the meanings of words can be described in terms of geometric structures.

Picturing Science and Engineering

Author: Felice C. Frankel
Publisher: Mit Press
ISBN: 9780262038553
Format: PDF, Kindle
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A guide to making scientific photographs for presentations, journal submissions, and covers, featuring step-by-step instructions and case studies, by an award-winning science photographer; illustrated in color throughout. One of the most powerful ways for scientists to document and communicate their work is through photography. Unfortunately, most scientists have little or no training in that craft. In this book, celebrated science photographer Felice Frankel offers a guide for creating science images that are both accurate and visually stunning. Picturing Science and Engineering provides detailed instructions for making science photographs using the DSLR camera, the flatbed scanner, and the phone camera. The book includes a series of step-by-step case studies, describing how final images were designed for cover submissions and other kinds of visualizations. Lavishly illustrated in color throughout, the book encourages the reader to learn by doing, following Frankel as she recreates the stages of discovery that lead to a good science visual. Frankel shows readers how to present their work with graphics--how to tell a visual story--and considers issues of image adjustment and enhancement. She describes how developing the right visual to express a concept not only helps make science accessible to nonspecialists, but also informs the science itself, helping scientists clarify their thinking. Within the book are specific URLs where readers can view Frankel's online tutorials--visual "punctuations" of this printed edition. Additional materials, including tutorials and videos, can be found online at the book's website. Published with the help of funding from Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan fund

Category Theory for the Sciences

Author: David I. Spivak
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262320533
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Category theory was invented in the 1940s to unify and synthesize different areas in mathematics, and it has proven remarkably successful in enabling powerful communication between disparate fields and subfields within mathematics. This book shows that category theory can be useful outside of mathematics as a rigorous, flexible, and coherent modeling language throughout the sciences. Information is inherently dynamic; the same ideas can be organized and reorganized in countless ways, and the ability to translate between such organizational structures is becoming increasingly important in the sciences. Category theory offers a unifying framework for information modeling that can facilitate the translation of knowledge between disciplines. Written in an engaging and straightforward style, and assuming little background in mathematics, the book is rigorous but accessible to non-mathematicians. Using databases as an entry to category theory, it begins with sets and functions, then introduces the reader to notions that are fundamental in mathematics: monoids, groups, orders, and graphs -- categories in disguise. After explaining the "big three" concepts of category theory -- categories, functors, and natural transformations -- the book covers other topics, including limits, colimits, functor categories, sheaves, monads, and operads. The book explains category theory by examples and exercises rather than focusing on theorems and proofs. It includes more than 300 exercises, with solutions. Category Theory for the Sciences is intended to create a bridge between the vast array of mathematical concepts used by mathematicians and the models and frameworks of such scientific disciplines as computation, neuroscience, and physics.

The Discipline of Organizing Informatics Edition

Author: Robert J. Glushko
Publisher: "O'Reilly Media, Inc."
ISBN: 1491997257
Format: PDF, Kindle
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We organize things. We organize information, information about things, and information about information. Organizing is a fundamental issue in many professional fields, but these fields have only limited agreement in how they approach problems of organizing and in what they seek as their solutions. The Discipline of Organizing synthesizes insights from library science, information science, computer science, cognitive science, systems analysis, business, and other disciplines to create an Organizing System for understanding organizing. This framework is robust and forward-looking, enabling effective sharing of insights and design patterns between disciplines that weren't possible before. The 4th edition of this award-winning and widely adopted text adds content to bridge between the foundations of organizing systems and the new statistical and computational techniques of data science because at its core, data science is about how resources are described and organized. The 4th edition reframes descriptive statistics as organizing techniques, expands the treatment of classification to include computational methods, and incorporates many new examples of data-driven resource selection, organization, maintenance, and personalization. The Informatics edition contains all the new content related to data science, but omits the discipline-specific content about library science, museums, and document archives.

Conceptual Spaces

Author: Peter Gärdenfors
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262572194
Format: PDF, ePub
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A new theory of conceptual representations as a bridge between the symbolic and connectionist approaches.

The Cognitive Science of Science

Author: Paul Thagard
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262300974
Format: PDF, Docs
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Many disciplines, including philosophy, history, and sociology, have attempted to make sense of how science works. In this book, Paul Thagard examines scientific development from the interdisciplinary perspective of cognitive science. Cognitive science combines insights from researchers in many fields: philosophers analyze historical cases, psychologists carry out behavioral experiments, neuroscientists perform brain scans, and computer modelers write programs that simulate thought processes. Thagard develops cognitive perspectives on the nature of explanation, mental models, theory choice, and resistance to scientific change, considering disbelief in climate change as a case study. He presents a series of studies that describe the psychological and neural processes that have led to breakthroughs in science, medicine, and technology. He shows how discoveries of new theories and explanations lead to conceptual change, with examples from biology, psychology, and medicine. Finally, he shows how the cognitive science of science can integrate descriptive and normative concerns; and he considers the neural underpinnings of certain scientific concepts.

Envisioning Science

Author: Felice Frankel
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262062251
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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A complete guide to the creation of compelling science photographs.

Exploring Science

Author: David Klahr
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262611763
Format: PDF, ePub
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Einstein said that "the whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking." David Klahr suggests that we now know enough about cognition -- and hence about everyday thinking -- to advance our understanding of scientific thinking. In this book he sets out to describe the cognitive and developmental processes that have enabled scientists to make the discoveries that comprise the body of information we call "scientific knowledge." Over the past decade Klahr and his colleagues have conducted extensive laboratory experiments in which they create discovery contexts, computer-based environments, to evoke the kind of thinking characteristic of scientific discovery in the "real world." In attempting to solve the problems posed by the discovery tasks, experiment participants (from preschoolers through university students, as well as laypersons) use many of the same higher-order cognitive processes used by practicing scientists. Through this work Klahr integrates two disparate approaches -- the content-based approach and the process-based approach -- to present a comprehensive model of the psychology of scientific discovery.

Making Design Theory

Author: Johan Redström
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262341859
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Tendencies toward "academization" of traditionally practice-based fields have forced design to articulate itself as an academic discipline, in theoretical terms. In this book, Johan Redström offers a new approach to theory development in design research--one that is driven by practice, experimentation, and making. Redström does not theorize from the outside, but explores the idea that, just as design research engages in the making of many different kinds of things, theory might well be one of those things it is making. Redström proposes that we consider theory not as stable and constant but as something unfolding -- something acted as much as articulated, inherently fluid and transitional. Redström describes three ways in which theory, in particular formulating basic definitions, is made through design: the use of combinations of fluid terms to articulate issues; the definition of more complex concepts through practice; and combining sets of definitions made through design into "programs." These are the building blocks for creating conceptual structures to support design. Design seems to thrive on the complexities arising from dichotomies: form and function, freedom and method, art and science. With his idea of transitional theory, Redström departs from the traditional academic imperative to pick a side -- theory or practice, art or science. Doing so, he opens up something like a design space for theory development within design research.