DS-2001-02: Rationality in Discovery - a study of Logic, Cognition, Computation and Neuropharmacology

DS-2001-02: den Bosch, Alexander van (2001) Rationality in Discovery - a study of Logic, Cognition, Computation and Neuropharmacology. Doctoral thesis, University of Amsterdam.

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%Nr: DS-2001-01
%Author: Alexander P.M. van den Bosch
%Title: Rationality in Discovery A Study of Logic, Cognition, Computation and

Part I Introduction

The specific problem adressed in this thesis is: what is the rational use of
theory and experiment in the process of scientific discovery, in theory and
in the practice of drug research for Parkinson's disease? The thesis aims to
answer the following specific questions: what is: 1) the structure of a
theory?; 2) the process of scientific reasoning?; 3) the route between theory
and experiment? In the first part I further discuss issues about rationality
in science as introduction to part II, and I present an overview of my
case-study of neuropharmacology, for which I interviewed researchers from the
Groningen Pharmacy Department, as an introduction to part III.

Part II Discovery

In this part I discuss three theoretical models of scientific discovery
according to studies in the fields of Logic, Cognition, and Computation. In
those fields the structure of a theory is respectively explicated as: a set
of sentences; a set of associated memory chunks; and as a computer program
that can generate the observed data. Rationality in discovery is
characterized by: finding axioms that imply observation sentences; heuristic
search for a hypothesis, as part of problem solving, by applying memory
chunks and production rules that represent skill; and finding the shortest
program that generates the data, respectively. I further argue that reasoning
in discovery includes logical fallacies, which are neccesary to introduce new
hypotheses. I also argue that, while human subjects often make errors in
hypothesis evaluation tasks from a logical perspective, these evaluations are
rational given a probabilistic interpretation.

Part III Neuropharmacology

In this last part I discusses my case-study and a model of discovery in a
practice of drug research for Parkinson's disease. I discuss the dopamine
theory of Parkinson's disease and model its structure as a qualitative
differential equation. Then I discuss the use and reasons for particular
experiments to both test a drug and explore the function of the brain. I
describe different kinds of problems in drug research leading to a discovery.
Based on that description I distinguish three kinds of reasoning tasks in
discovery, inference to: the best explanation, the best prediction and the
best inter-vention. I further demonstrate how a part of reasoning in
neuropharmacology can be computationally modeled as qualitative reasoning,
and aided by a computer sup-ported discovery system

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Report Nr: DS-2001-02
Series Name: ILLC Dissertation (DS) Series
Year: 2001
Subjects: Cognition
Depositing User: Dr Marco Vervoort
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2022 15:16
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2022 15:16
URI: https://eprints.illc.uva.nl/id/eprint/2021

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