Conceptual Connections, once again

Matthias Melcher, Concepts, May 09, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Concepts can form networks, says Matthias Melcher. "Words can change each other’s subtle nuances, for example when a newer word gradually displaces an older one from a certain meaning, while the older word slowly shifts its connotations, just by being used differently." I don't inherently disagree with this. I was pretty careful in my statement to allow for non-causal changes of state: "can cause or result in..." - and the purpose was precisely allow that networks could be formed by non-physical entities. Concepts may be one such example. Now I have said connections are not just relations between concepts, as Melcher notes here. A concept map isn't the same as a network. But insofar as concepts are dynamic, interacting things they can and do form networks.

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