2004
Volume 106, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-5275
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1244

Abstract

The article consists of three main sections, in which I successively discuss the nature and role of realization, interpretation and abstraction in experimental and observational processes. In this way, these sections address several fundamental problems in philosophy of science, ontology and epistemology, and philosophy of language. Section 1 introduces the notion of realization processes, and argues that successful realization requires causal judgments. The second section discusses the role of conceptual interpretation in experiments and observations, explains how realization and interpretation can be distinguished, and emphasizes the significance of different types and ranges of experimental and observational reproducibility. It also includes a subsection on the issue of reproducibility in contemporary social sciences and psychology. Section 3 explains how concepts are abstracted from existing realization processes, and concludes that abstraction bestows a nonlocal meaning on these extensible concepts. In addition, I discuss and criticize some rival views of abstraction and concept meaning (to wit, mentalism and localism). The article concludes with some observations on the notion of a (cognitive) trinity.

In my reply, I respond to the points raised in the six commentary papers. The following issues are addressed: the place of causality in physics (Steffen Ducheyne), perception in ordinary life (Monica Meijsing), the role of reproducibility in psychology and the social sciences (Daniël Lakens, Ruud Abma), the significance and implications of conceptual innovation (Lieven Decock), and the relationship between meaning, communication and ontology (Martin Stokhof and Michiel van Lambalgen).

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2014-05-01
2021-09-21
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