InterJournal Complex Systems, 134
Status: Accepted
Manuscript Number: [134]
Submission Date: 971022
Revised On: 980519
Theories in (inter)action: A complex dynamic system for theory evaluation in Science Studies
Author(s): Petra Ahrweiler

Subject(s): CX.06, CX.13, CX.43, CX.15

Category: Brief Article

Abstract:

Science Studies is an interdisciplinary enterprise of philo- sophy, sociology and history of science which tries to in- vestigate the genesis and the development of scientific knowledge both with respect to "internal" epistemic factors and to "external", mainly social and historical factors. Due to the fact that the participating disciplines follow heterogenous concepts, the various theories of Science Stu- dies are not only supplementary but partly competing. What is the respective explanation power of any participating theories? Where are possible links, opportunities for cooperation and integration between them? These questions should be answered in order to formulate concrete inter- disciplinary projects. SiSiFOS is a multiagent system for testing, evaluating, combining, and integrating theories from the field of Science Studies. In SiSiFOS, book versions of theories are converted into computational theories using common notion systems as an interface. The computational theories act as autonomous "agents" in an environment which consists of other agents and data that is to be explained: all agents are engaged in contributing to solve a global problem, namely to explain as many units of data as possible. The output of SiSiFOS gives information about: which agents have suggested equivalent or alternative explanations for certain aspects, which agents contribute to which aspects of the explanations, and which agents have cooperated. The participating theories are evaluated through the procedures of the system instead of finding an optimal solution for a defined problem (the normal application of multiagent systems). The special task of SiSiFOS is mirrored in the characteriza- tion of its agents and its interaction mechanism. SiSiFOS is a production system which creates an artificial explanation network of interacting (cooperating or competing) theories from Science Studies.

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