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Models of scientific discovery: what do they explain?

Albrecht Heeffer UGent (2011) Third international conference on philosophy and cognitive science, Proceedings. p.45-60
abstract
Motivated by the renewed interest in knowledge discovery from data (KDD) by the artificial intelligence community, this paper provides a critical assessment of models of discovery in science. The most influential research program, called BACON, is using the model of data-driven induction. Two of the main claims by this research program, the descriptive and constructive power of data-driven induction, are evaluated by means of two historical cases studies: the discovery of the sine law of refraction in optics and Kepler’s third law of planetary motion. I will concentrate on the first claim that the computational model used by BACON provides an explanation of the real historical cases. The explanatory power of BACON’s model will be challenged by providing evidence that the data used by the program – despite the claims being made by the authors – does not correspond with the historical data available to Kepler and his contemporaries. Furthermore, it is shown that for the two cases the method by which the general law was arrived at did not involve data-driven induction. Finally, the value of the data-driven induction as a general model for scientific discovery is being questioned. An outline of an alternative model of hypothesis generation and testing will be offered for one of the case studies.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
conference
publication status
published
subject
keyword
models, Scientific discovery
in
Third international conference on philosophy and cognitive science, Proceedings
editor
Ping Li
pages
45 - 60
publisher
Sun Yat Sen University
place of publication
Guangzhou, China
conference name
Third International Conference on Philosophy and Cognitive Science (PCS2011)
conference location
Guangzhou, China
conference start
2011-05-26
conference end
2011-05-27
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
C1
copyright statement
I have retained and own the full copyright for this publication
id
1250089
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-1250089
date created
2011-05-31 21:06:45
date last changed
2017-01-02 09:52:34
@inproceedings{1250089,
  abstract     = {Motivated by the renewed interest in knowledge discovery from data (KDD) by the artificial intelligence community, this paper provides a critical assessment of models of discovery in science. The most influential research program, called BACON, is using the model of data-driven induction. Two of the main claims by this research program, the descriptive and constructive power of data-driven induction, are evaluated by means of two historical cases studies: the discovery of the sine law of refraction in optics and Kepler{\textquoteright}s third law of planetary motion. I will concentrate on the first claim that the computational model used by BACON provides an explanation of the real historical cases. The explanatory power of BACON{\textquoteright}s model will be challenged by providing evidence that the data used by the program -- despite the claims being made by the authors -- does not correspond with the historical data available to Kepler and his contemporaries. Furthermore, it is shown that for the two cases the method by which the general law was arrived at did not involve data-driven induction. Finally, the value of the data-driven induction as a general model for scientific discovery is being questioned. An outline of an alternative model of hypothesis generation and testing will be offered for one of the case studies.},
  author       = {Heeffer, Albrecht},
  booktitle    = {Third international conference on philosophy and cognitive science, Proceedings},
  editor       = {Li, Ping},
  keyword      = {models,Scientific discovery},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Guangzhou, China},
  pages        = {45--60},
  publisher    = {Sun Yat Sen University},
  title        = {Models of scientific discovery: what do they explain?},
  year         = {2011},
}

Chicago
Heeffer, Albrecht. 2011. “Models of Scientific Discovery: What Do They Explain?” In Third International Conference on Philosophy and Cognitive Science, Proceedings, ed. Ping Li, 45–60. Guangzhou, China: Sun Yat Sen University.
APA
Heeffer, A. (2011). Models of scientific discovery: what do they explain? In Ping Li (Ed.), Third international conference on philosophy and cognitive science, Proceedings (pp. 45–60). Presented at the Third International Conference on Philosophy and Cognitive Science (PCS2011), Guangzhou, China: Sun Yat Sen University.
Vancouver
1.
Heeffer A. Models of scientific discovery: what do they explain? In: Li P, editor. Third international conference on philosophy and cognitive science, Proceedings. Guangzhou, China: Sun Yat Sen University; 2011. p. 45–60.
MLA
Heeffer, Albrecht. “Models of Scientific Discovery: What Do They Explain?” Third International Conference on Philosophy and Cognitive Science, Proceedings. Ed. Ping Li. Guangzhou, China: Sun Yat Sen University, 2011. 45–60. Print.