Frames and concepts in the philosophy of science

  • Stephan Kornmesser
Original Paper in Philosophy of Science


In the philosophy of science, the frame model is used in order to represent and analyze scientific concepts and conceptual change. However, the potential of the frame model is far from being fully exploited: Up to now, the frame model is only applied to a rather small set of different kinds of concepts and important advantages of the frame model for reconstructing and analyzing concepts have been neglected. In this article, we will essentially extend the frame model in the following way: We will develop a frame-based approach for representing a comprehensive class of different kinds of concepts including conjunctively and disjunctively defined concepts, family resemblance concepts, prototype concepts, operationalized concepts, dual concepts integrating two different ways of concept determination, and theoretical concepts. In order to do so, we will define different kinds of frames with respect to the logical structure of the kind of concept that is represented by a particular frame. We will exemplify our approach by means of ten frames applied to standard cases of conceptual analyses in philosophy and cognitive science as well as to scientific concepts of political science, psychology, linguistics and physics.


Frame model Concept representation Defined concepts Prototype concepts Family resemblance concepts Operationalized concepts Dual concepts Theoretical concepts 



For valuable comments I am indebted to two anonymous referees.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Institute of PhilosophyOldenburgGermany

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