Theories in Children and the Rest of Us
Eric Schwitzgebel

Philosophy of Science, Supplemental Issue, 63 (1996), s202-s210.


I offer an account of theories useful in addressing the question of whether children are theoreticians whose development can be regarded as the product of theory change. I argue that to regard a set of propositions as a theory is to be committed to evaluating that set in terms of its explanatory power. If theory change is the substance of cognitive development, we should see patterns of affect and arousal consonant with the emergence and resolution of explanation-seeking curiosity. Affect has largely been ignored as a potential source of support or disconfirmation for the "theory theory" of cognitive development.

You might check out Philosophy of Science to see if this article is available on-line yet - it wasn't last I checked.

Or email me (eschwitz at domain- for a copy of this paper.

A revised an expanded version of this paper appeared in Science & Education in 1999, as "Children's Theories and the Drive to Explain".

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