Science & Education

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 1389–1403 | Cite as

Concepts in Change

  • Anna-Mari RusanenEmail author
  • Samuli Pöyhönen


In this article we focus on the concept of concept in conceptual change. We argue that (1) theories of higher learning must often employ two different notions of concept that should not be conflated: psychological and scientific concepts. The usages for these two notions are partly distinct and thus straightforward identification between them is unwarranted. Hence, the strong analogy between scientific theory change and individual learning should be approached with caution. In addition, we argue that (2) research in psychology and cognitive science provides a promising theoretical basis for developing explanatory mechanistic models of conceptual change. Moreover, we argue that (3) arguments against deeper integration between the fields of psychology and conceptual change are not convincing, and that recent theoretical developments in the cognitive sciences might prove indispensable in filling in the details in mechanisms of conceptual change.


Cognitive Science Conceptual Change Scientific Concept Cognitive Mechanism Cognitive Architecture 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Otto Lappi, Petri Ylikoski and the anonymous referees for useful comments on an earlier version of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art StudiesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of Social and Moral PhilosophyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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