Richer than reduction
There are numerous routes for scientific discovery, many of which involve the use of information from other scientific theories. In particular, searching for possible reductions is widely recognized as one guiding principle for scientific discovery or innovation. However, reduction is only one kind of intertheoretic relation; scientific theories, claims, and proposals can be related in more, and more complex, ways. This chapter proposes that much scientific discovery proceeds through the use of constraints implied by those intertheoretic relationships. The resulting framework is significantly more general than the common reduction-centric focus. As a result, it can explain more prosaic, everyday cases of scientific discovery, as well as scientists' opportunistic use of many different kinds of scientific information. I illustrate the framework using three case studies from cognitive science, and conclude by exploring the potential limits of analyses of scientific discovery via constraints.
Danks, D. (2018)., Richer than reduction, in D. Danks & E. Ippoliti (eds.), Building theories, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 45-61.
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