Structuralism and scientific discovery. (English) Zbl 0852.00009

Echeverria, Javier (ed.) et al., The space of mathematics. Philosophical, epistemological, and historical explorations. Revised papers from a symposium on structures in mathematical theories, Donostia/San Sebastian, Basque Country, Spain, September 1990. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. Grundlagen der Kommunikation und Kognition. 379-402 (1992).
The author presents a procedure for discovering scientific theories which can be described as a “genetic modification” applied to a “population” of structuralist representations of scientific theories. His starting point is the structuralist concept of a specialization net of theory elements. Specialization nets are sets of conceptually related laws in contrast to single laws (theory elements). The discovery of theoretical concepts is viewed “as the discovery of a theory net in which theoretical concepts appear” (p. 381). The author sketches a PROLOG implementation in which two strategies for discovering theories can be modelled: the discovery by search through a PROLOG theory net (pp. 395-396), and the discovery by genetic modification of a population of theory nets (pp. 386-401).
For the entire collection see [Zbl 0839.00019].


00A30 Philosophy of mathematics
03A05 Philosophical and critical aspects of logic and foundations
00A69 General applied mathematics
00A71 General theory of mathematical modeling