Modeling the invention of a new inference rule: The case of ‘Randomized Clinical Trial’ as an argument scheme for medical science

Argument and Computation 9 (2):77-89 (2018)
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A background assumption of this paper is that the repertoire of inference schemes available to humanity is not fixed, but subject to change as new schemes are invented or refined and as old ones are obsolesced or abandoned. This is particularly visible in areas like health and environmental sciences, where enormous societal investment has been made in finding ways to reach more dependable conclusions. Computational modeling of argumentation, at least for the discourse in expert fields, will require the possibility of modeling change in a stock of schemes that may be applied to generate conclusions from data. We examine Randomized Clinical Trial, an inference scheme established within medical science in the mid-20th Century, and show that its successful defense by means of practical reasoning allowed for its black-boxing as an inference scheme that generates (and warrants belief in) conclusions about the effects of medical treatments. Modeling the use of a scheme is well-understood; here we focus on modeling how the scheme comes to be established so that it is available for use.
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