Concepts are dynamically constructed and collectively negotiated meanings that classify the world according to interests and theories.
Four epistemologies can be employed to understand how concepts are formed: empiricism, rationalism, historicism, and pragmatism.
Empiricism - knowledge comes from theory-independent observations
Rationalism - knowledge is acquired by the development of logical structures prior to any experience
Historicism - knowledge comes from theory-laden and culturally based observations
Pragmatism - knowledge forms according to particular goals, values, and consequences
The main argument for using all this in LIS: the potential of simple searching techniques will soon be exhausted, so the future of information retrieval is in the possibility of re-establishing lost contexts that determine the meaning of words. It can be done by developing an understanding of concepts and how they work.
The question is - if there are at least four paradigms for understanding concepts, will we ever achieve this understanding of how concepts work?