Because the central claim in this book is that Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories exhibit in many cases the pattern of what is known as a Gestalt shift, the book opens with a discussion of the nature and significance of Gestalt shifts. The term Gestalt shift is defined and illustrated and provides information on the development of this pattern of conceptual change. Crowe traces the history of the idea of a Gestalt shift, giving special attention to its use in Thomas Kuhn’s exceptionally influential book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962). In this context, Crowe discusses the idea of a category mistake and of a Gestalt shift point, but he focuses on the significance of Kuhn’s treatment of this idea and other ideas put forth by Kuhn on conceptual change. This chapter ends with a sketch of the overall structure of the book.
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