Scientific software 61

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Michael Friedman (1974) is an important early attempt to do this. Friedman's formulation of the unificationist idea was subsequently shown to suffer from various technical problems (Kitcher, 1976) and subsequent development of the unificationist treatment of explanation has been most associated closely with Philip Kitcher (especially Kitcher, 1989).

Let us begin by introducing some of Kitcher's technical Scientific software vocabulary. A schematic sentence is a sentence in which some of the nonlogical vocabulary has been replaced by dummy letters. To use Kitcher's examples, the sentence “Organisms homozygous for the sickling allele develop sickle cell anemia” is associated with a number of schematic sentences including “Organisms homozygous for A develop P” and “For all X if X is O and A then X isP”. Filling instructions are directions that specify how to fill in the dummy letters in schematic sentences. For example, mathlab filling instructions might tell us to replace A with the name of an allele and P with the name of a phenotypic trait in the first of the above schematic sentences. Schematic arguments are sequences of schematic sentences. Classifications describe which sentences in schematic arguments are premises and conclusions and what rules of inference are used. An argument pattern is an ordered triple consisting of a schematic argument, a set of sets of filling instructions, one for each term of the schematic argument, and a classification of the schematic argument. The more restrictions an argument pattern imposes on the arguments that instantiate it, the more stringent it is said to be.

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