Presentation_1_Multiple Levels of Heuristic Reasoning Processes in Scientific Model Construction.pdf (120.5 kB)

Presentation_1_Multiple Levels of Heuristic Reasoning Processes in Scientific Model Construction.pdf

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posted on 2022-05-10, 04:59 authored by John J. Clement

Science historians have recognized the importance of heuristic reasoning strategies for constructing theories, but their extent and degree of organization are still poorly understood. This paper first consolidates a set of important heuristic strategies for constructing scientific models from three books, including studies in the history of genetics and electromagnetism, and an expert think-aloud study in the field of mechanics. The books focus on qualitative reasoning strategies (processes) involved in creative model construction, scientific breakthroughs, and conceptual change. Twenty four processes are examined, most of which are field-general, but all are heuristic in not being guaranteed to work. An organizing framework is then proposed as a four-level hierarchy of nested reasoning processes and subprocesses at different size and time scales, including: Level (L4) Several longer-time-scale Major Modeling Modes, such as Model Evolution and Model Competition; the former mode utilizes: (L3) Modeling Cycle Phases of Model Generation, Evaluation, and Modification under Constraints; which can utilize: (L2) Thirteen Tactical Heuristic Processes, e.g., Analogy, Infer new model feature (e.g., by running the model), etc.; many of which selectively utilize: (L1) Grounded Imagistic Processes, namely Mental Simulations and Structural Transformations. Incomplete serial ordering in the framework gives it an intermediate degree of organization that is neither anarchistic nor fully algorithmic. Its organizational structure is hypothesized to promote a difficult balance between divergent and convergent processes as it alternates between them in modeling cycles with increasingly constrained modifications. Videotaped think-aloud protocols that include depictive gestures and other imagery indicators indicate that the processes in L1 above can be imagistic. From neurological evidence that imagery uses many of the same brain regions as actual perception and action, it is argued that these expert reasoning processes are grounded in the sense of utilizing the perceptual and motor systems, and interconnections to and possible benefits for reasoning processes at higher levels are examined. The discussion examines whether this grounding and the various forms of organization in the framework may begin to explain how processes that are only sometimes useful and not guaranteed to work can combine successfully to achieve innovative scientific model construction.