Kognitionsforskningens topologiske grundlag

Semikolon 3 (7):91-105 (2003)
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The paper introduces the concepts at the heart of point-set-topology and of mereotopology (topology founded in the non-atomistic theory of parts and wholes) in an informal and intuitive fashion. It will then seek to demonstrate how mereotopological ideas can be of particular utility in cognitive science applications. The prehistory of such applications (in the work of Husserl, the Gestaltists, of Kurt Lewin and of J. J. Gibson) will be sketched, together with an indication of the field of possibilities in linguistics, perceptual psychology, cate¬gorization and geographic information systems. Topological structures will be shown to play a central role in studies of naive physics not least in virtue of the fact that even well-attested departures from true physics on the part of common sense leave the topology and vectorial orientation of the underlying physical phenomena invariant: our common sense would thus seem to have a veridical grasp of the topology and broad general orientation of physical phenomena, both static and dynamic, even where it illegitimately modifies the relevant shape and metric properties. The implications of this and related insights for the methodology of psychology will be explored.
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