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Kuhn and conceptual change: on the analogy between conceptual changes in science and children

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journal contribution
posted on 27.02.2014, 13:42 by Christian Greiffenhagen, Wendy Sherman
This article argues that the analogy between conceptual changes in the history of science and conceptual changes in the development of young children is problematic. We show that the notions of ‘conceptual change’ in Kuhn and Piaget’s projects, the two thinkers whose work is most commonly drawn upon to support this analogy, are not compatible in the sense usually claimed. We contend that Kuhn’s work pertains not so much to the psychology of individual scientists, but to the way philosophers and historians should describe developments in communities of scientists. Furthermore, we argue that the analogy is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of science and the relation between science and common sense. The distinctiveness of the two notions of conceptual change has implications for science education research, since it raises serious questions about the relevance of Kuhn’s remarks for the study of pedagogical issues.

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Citation

GREIFFENHAGEN, C. and SHERMAN, W., 2008. Kuhn and conceptual change: on the analogy between conceptual changes in science and children. Science and Education, 17 (1), pp. 1 - 26

Publisher

© Springer Verlag

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publication date

2008

Notes

This article was published in the journal, Science and Education [© Springer Verlag]. The definitive version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11191-006-9063-5

ISSN

0926-7220

eISSN

1573-1901

Language

en

Exports