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Is Abstraction a Kind of Idea or How Conceptualization Works?

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Document pages: 30 pages

Abstract: In this commentary, I review papers by Ohlsson & Regan (O&R), van Oers, and Dreyfus, Hershkowitz, & Schwarz (DH&S). The papers are nominally about abstraction and learning, but emphasize different kinds of problems and levels of analysis. O&R focus on mathematical, “domain independent” characteristics of abstract thinking, claiming that experience in a domain is not the main determinant of scientific discovery. van Oers focuses on the development of abstraction within activities, especially as a sequence of nested domains of concern. DH&S emphasize how nested conceptualizations co-define and provide meaning for each other (a dialectic relation).

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