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Concept theory

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Concept theory is an extremely broad, interdisciplinary and complex field of research related to many deep fields with very long historical traditions without much consensus. However, information science and knowledge organization cannot avoid relating to theories of concepts. Knowledge organizing systems (e.g. classification systems, thesauri and ontologies) should be understood as systems basically organizing concepts and their semantic relations. The same is the case with information retrieval systems. Different theories of concepts have different implications for how to construe, evaluate and use such systems. Based on "a post-Kuhnian view" of paradigms this paper put forward arguments that the best understanding and classification of theories of concepts is to view and classify them in accordance with epistemological theories (empiricism, rationalism, historicism and pragmatism). It is also argued that the historicist and pragmatist understandings of concepts are the most fruitful views and that this understanding may be part of a broader paradigm shift that is also beginning to take place in information science.  The importance of historicist and pragmatic theories of concepts for information science is outlined.

TidsskriftJournal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Udgave nummer8
Sider (fra-til)1519-1536
Antal sider18
StatusUdgivet - 2009


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