Model-based reasoning in distributed cognitive systems

Philosophy of Science 73 (5):699-709 (2006)
Abstract
This paper examines the nature of model-based reasoning in the interplay between theory and experiment in the context of biomedical engineering research laboratories, where problem solving involves using physical models. These "model systems" are sites of experimentation where in vitro models are used to screen, control, and simulate specific aspects of in vivo phenomena. As with all models, simulation devices are idealized representations, but they are also systems themselves, possessing engineering constraints. Drawing on research in contemporary cognitive science that construes cognition as occurring in a complex distributed system comprising people and artifacts, I argue that reasoning with model systems is a constraint satisfaction process involving co-construction, manipulation, and revision of mental and physical models.
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    Lawrence W. Barsalou (1999). Perceptual Symbol Systems. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (4):577-660.

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