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Theory-Choice, Transient Diversity and the Efficiency of Scientific Inquiry

Borg, AnneMarie and Frey, Daniel and Šešelja, Dunja and Straßer, Christian (2019) Theory-Choice, Transient Diversity and the Efficiency of Scientific Inquiry. European Journal for Philosophy of Science. ISSN 1879-4912

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Abstract

Recent studies of scientific interaction based on agent-based models (ABMs) suggest that a crucial factor conducive to efficient inquiry is what Zollman, 2010 has dubbed ‘transient diversity’. It signifies a process in which a community engages in parallel exploration of rivaling theories lasting sufficiently long for the community to identify the best theory and to converge on it. But what exactly generates transient diversity? And is transient diversity a decisive factor when it comes to the efficiency of inquiry? In this paper we examine the impact of different conditions on the efficiency of inquiry, as well as the relation between diversity and efficiency. This includes certain diversity-generating mechanisms previously proposed in the literature (such as different social networks and cautious decision-making), as well as some factors that have so far been neglected (such as evaluations underlying theory-choice performed by scientists). This study is obtained via an argumentation-based ABM (Borg et al., 2017, 2018). Our results suggest that cautious decision-making does not always have a significant impact on the efficiency of inquiry while different evaluations underlying theory-choice and different social networks do. Moreover, we find a correlation between diversity and a successful performance of agents only under specific conditions, which indicates that transient diversity is sometimes not the primary factor responsible for efficiency. Altogether, when comparing our results to those obtained by structurally different ABMs based on Zollman’s work, the impact of specific factors on efficiency of inquiry, as well as the role of transient diversity in achieving efficiency, appear to be highly dependent on the underlying model.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Borg, AnneMarieannemarie.borg@rub.de
Frey, Danielfreyda87@gmail.com
Šešelja, Dunjadunja.seselja@lrz.uni-muenchen.de0000-0001-5679-5787
Straßer, Christianchristian.strasser@rub.de0000-0002-4117-7019
Keywords: agent-based modeling, cautious decision-making, theory- choice, transient diversity, scientific inquiry, scientific interaction
Subjects: General Issues > Models and Idealization
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: Dr. Dunja Šešelja
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2019 17:07
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2019 17:07
Item ID: 15653
Journal or Publication Title: European Journal for Philosophy of Science
Publisher: Springer
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1007/s13194-019-0249-5
Subjects: General Issues > Models and Idealization
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: 2019
ISSN: 1879-4912
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15653

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