Defeasible Reasoning + Partial Models: A Formal Framework for the Methodology of Research Programs

Authors: Tohmé, Fernando1; Delrieux, Claudio2; Bueno, Otávio3

Source: Foundations of Science, Volume 16, Number 1, February 2011 , pp. 47-65(19)

Publisher: Springer

Buy & download fulltext article:


Price: $47.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


In this paper we show that any reasoning process in which conclusions can be both fallible and corrigible can be formalized in terms of two approaches: (i) syntactically, with the use of defeasible reasoning, according to which reasoning consists in the construction and assessment of arguments for and against a given claim, and (ii) semantically, with the use of partial structures, which allow for the representation of less than conclusive information. We are particularly interested in the formalization of scientific reasoning, along the lines traced by Lakatos’ methodology of scientific research programs. We show how current debates in cosmology could be put into this framework, shedding light on a very controversial topic.

Keywords: Cosmology; Defeasible reasoning; Lakatos; Partial structures

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Departamento de Economía, Universidad Nacional del Sur, CONICET, 8000, Bahía, Blanca, Argentina, Email: 2: Departamento de Ingeniería Eléctrica y de Computadoras, Universidad Nacional del Sur, 8000, Bahía, Blanca, Argentina, Email: 3: Department of Philosophy, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, 33124-4670, USA, Email:

Publication date: February 1, 2011

Related content


Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content

Text size:

A | A | A | A
Share this item with others: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. print icon Print this page