A version of this view is held by a significant number of contemporary
philosophers of science and developmental psychologists who propose that
children's cognitive development recapitulates conceptual development in
the history of science. Closer examination reveals that few people argue
for the strict recapitulation of scientific development in children's
cognitive development. Rather, theorists claim that the psychological
investigation of children's cognitive development will lead to a better
understanding of the cognitive development of science.
In this paper Downes argues that neither the strict recapitulation view, nor its weaker derivative provide plausible accounts of scientific development. To reject both the strict and weak versions of the recapitulation thesis is not, however, to reject the claim that scientific development and other kinds of conceptual development are analogous to some kind of evolutionary process. He concludes by discussing some other evolutionary accounts of conceptual development.