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The Heuristic Structure of Scientific Knowledge

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We examine two major perspectives in the literature on domain specificity in cognition: in one of them cognitive modules are "intuitive theories"; in the other they are dispositional structures. Both of these positions accept that there is a continuous line from ordinary to scientific reasoning; nevertheless they interpret this continuity differently. We propose an alternative way of understanding the relation between ordinary and scientific reasoning: the continuity thesis holds because heuristic structures play a fundamental role in both types of reasoning. Our main contention is that cognitive modules can be thought of as heuristic structures and that, since science is a complex of practices that embody different heuristic structures, science should be understood as a complex of cognitive modules.


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