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The theoretician's gambits: scientific representations, their formats and content

Abstract : It is quite widely acknowledged, in the field of cognitive science, that the format in which a set of data is displayed (lists, graphs, arrays, etc.) matters to the agents' performances in achieving various cognitive tasks, such as problem-solving or decision-making. This paper intends to show that formats also matter in the case of theoretical representations, namely general representations expressing hypotheses, and not only in the case of data displays. Indeed, scientists have limited cognitive abilities, and representations in different formats have different inferential affordances for them. Moreover, this paper shows that, once agents and their limited cognitive abilities get into the picture, one has to take into account both the way content is formatted and the cognitive abilities and epistemic peculiarities of agents. This paves the way to a dynamic and pragmatic picture of theorizing, as a cognitive activity consisting in creating new inferential pathways between representations.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00792207
Contributor : Marion Vorms <>
Submitted on : Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 2:02:20 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 3:59:31 AM

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  • HAL Id : halshs-00792207, version 1

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Marion Vorms. The theoretician's gambits: scientific representations, their formats and content. Magnani, Lorenzo, Carnielli, Walter, Pizzi, Claudio. Model-Based Reasoning in Science and Technology: Abduction, Logic, and Computational Discovery, Springer Verlag, pp.533-558, 2010. ⟨halshs-00792207⟩

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