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Workshop: Richard Shillcock, Chair: Yichuan Zhang

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What is a domain?

What
  • ANC Workshop Talk
When Mar 12, 2013
from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Where IF 4.31/4.33
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Scientific experimentation requires us to begin with the complexity of the world and physically and/or mentally to remove aspects of the real world and – implicitly or explicitly – to define a domain. Defining a domain has implications for what is and is not relevant, and for how complex the modelling might become. Conventionally, scientific domains are defined linguistically as abstract universals: one example is the domain of “reading”, in which researchers are defining something abstract that they take to be similar across different real situations in which people are interacting with text. Another example is the use of the -omics pseudo-suffix. As often as not, a research domain is also defined in terms of the methodology/technology used: “reading research” is often synonymous with “eye-tracking research”.  These ways of defining domains are unsatisfactory: the resulting domains (a) tend to be too vague to be useful; (b) tend to be led by technology rather than by the fundamental questions of the domain; (c) propel us one-way in the direction of simplicity in modelliing. I propose a philosophically grounded ontology for modelling (Shillcock, in press), with two examples, one asking whether the sex of the reader should be a legitimate component of a model of reading, the other concerning the modelling of speech segmentation.

Shillcock, R. (in press). The concrete universal and cognitive science. Axiomathes.