Logical and Computational Aspects of Model-Based Reasoning

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L. Magnani, Nancy Nersessian, Claudio Pizzi
Springer Netherlands, Sep 30, 2002 - Computers - 342 pages
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This volume is based on the papers that were presented at the International Conference "Model-Based Reasoning: Scientific Discovery, Technological Innovation, Values' (MBR'01), held at the Collegio Ghislieri, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy, in May 2001. The previous volume Model-Based Reasoning in Scientific Discovery, edited by L. Magnani, N.J. Nersessian, and P. Thagard was based on the papers presented at the first" model-based reasoning' international conference, held at the same venue in December 1998.

The presentations given at the Conference explore how scientific thinking uses models and exploratory reasoning to produce creative changes in theories and concepts. Some address the problem of model-based reasoning in ethics, especially pertaining to science and technology, and stress some aspects of model-based reasoning in technological innovation.

The study of diagnostic, visual, spatial, analogical, and temporal reasoning has demonstrated that there are many ways of performing intelligent and creative reasoning that cannot be described with the help only of traditional notions of reasoning such as classical logic. Understanding the contribution of modeling practices to discovery and conceptual change in science requires expanding scientific reasoning to include complex forms of creative reasoning that are not always successful and can lead to incorrect solutions. The study of these heuristic ways of reasoning is situated at the crossroads of philosophy, artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, and logic; that is, at the heart of cognitive science.

There are several key ingredients common to the various forms of model-based reasoning. The term model' comprises both internal and external representations. The models are intended as interpretations of target physical systems, processes, phenomena, or situations. The models are retrieved or constructed on the basis of potentially satisfying salient constraints of the target domain. Moreover, in the modeling process, various forms of abstraction are used. Evaluation and adaptation take place in light of structural, causal, and/or functional constraints. Model simulation can be used to produce new states and enable evaluation of behaviors and other factors.

The various contributions of the book are written by interdisciplinary researchers who are active in the area of creative reasoning in science and technology, and are logically and computationally oriented: the most recent results and achievements about the topics above are illustrated in detail in the papers.

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About the author (2002)

Nancy Nersessian is Regents' Professor of Cognitive Science in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology. She is the author of "Faraday to Einstein: Constructing Meaning in Scientific Theories, " and numerous articles on the creative reasoning practices of scientists and on science learning.

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