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  1. Robert Ackermann (1963). A Neglected Proposal Concerning Simplicity. Philosophy of Science 30 (3):228-235.
    This paper is intended to explore Jeffrey's proposal for the measurement of the simplicity of scientific laws. The first part is a sketch of Jeffreys' development of a view on simplicity, which will be followed by a discussion of what seem to be some rather crucial defects in the proposal as it stands. It will be suggested here that no plausible way of countering these defects seems available.
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  2. Robert Ackermann (1961). Inductive Simplicity. Philosophy of Science 28 (2):152-161.
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  3. Baker Alan (2003). Quantitative Parsimony and Explanatory Power. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (2).
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  4. A. Baker (2007). Occam's Razor in Science: A Case Study From Biogeography. Biology and Philosophy 22 (2):193-215.
  5. Alan Baker (2008). Simplicity. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  6. Alan Baker (2003). Quantitative Parsimony and Explanatory Power. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (2):245-259.
    The desire to minimize the number of individual new entities postulated is often referred to as quantitative parsimony. Its influence on the default hypotheses formulated by scientists seems undeniable. I argue that there is a wide class of cases for which the preference for quantitatively parsimonious hypotheses is demonstrably rational. The justification, in a nutshell, is that such hypotheses have greater explanatory power than less parsimonious alternatives. My analysis is restricted to a class of cases I shall refer to as (...)
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  7. Greg Bamford (1999). What is the Problem of Ad Hoc Hypotheses? Science and Education 8 (4):375 - 86..
    The received view of an ad hochypothesis is that it accounts for only the observation(s) it was designed to account for, and so non-ad hocness is generally held to be necessary or important for an introduced hypothesis or modification to a theory. Attempts by Popper and several others to convincingly explicate this view, however, prove to be unsuccessful or of doubtful value, and familiar and firmer criteria for evaluating the hypotheses or modified theories so classified are characteristically available. These points (...)
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  8. S. F. Barker (1961). On Simplicity in Empirical Hypotheses. Philosophy of Science 28 (2):162-171.
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  9. Edison Barrios (2015). Simple is Not Easy. Synthese:1-45.
    I review and challenge the views on simplicity and its role in linguistics put forward by Ludlow (2011). In particular, I criticize the claim that simplicity—in the sense pertinent to science—is nothing more than ease of use or “user-friendliness”, motivated by economy of (cognitive) labor. I argue that Ludlow’s discussion fails to do justice to the diversity of factors that are relevant to simplicity considerations. This, in turn, leads to the neglect of crucial cases in which the rationale for simplification (...)
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  10. Gordon Belot (forthcoming). Curve-Fitting for Bayesians? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv061.
    Bayesians often assume, suppose, or conjecture that for any reasonable explication of the notion of simplicity a prior can be designed that will enforce a preference for hypotheses simpler in just that sense. Further, it is often claimed that the Bayesian framework automatically implements Occam’s razor—that conditionalizing on data consistent with both a simple theory and a complex theory more or less inevitably favours the simpler theory. But it is shown here that there are simplicity-driven approaches to curve-fitting problems that (...)
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  11. Gordon Belot (2016). Sober as a Judge. Metascience (3):1-6.
    In Ockham's Razors: A User's Guide, Elliott Sober argues that parsimony considerations are epistemically relevant on the grounds that certain methods of model selection, such as the Akaike Information Criterion, exhibit good asymptotic behaviour and take the number of adjustable parameters in a model into account. I raise some worries about this form of argument.
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  12. Yann Benétreau-Dupin (2015). Probabilistic Reasoning in Cosmology. Dissertation, The University of Western Ontario
    Cosmology raises novel philosophical questions regarding the use of probabilities in inference. This work aims at identifying and assessing lines of arguments and problematic principles in probabilistic reasoning in cosmology. -/- The first, second, and third papers deal with the intersection of two distinct problems: accounting for selection effects, and representing ignorance or indifference in probabilistic inferences. These two problems meet in the cosmology literature when anthropic considerations are used to predict cosmological parameters by conditionalizing the distribution of, e.g., the (...)
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  13. Andrew Brenner (forthcoming). Simplicity as a Criterion of Theory Choice in Metaphysics. Philosophical Studies:1-21.
    Metaphysicians frequently appeal to the idea that theoretical simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics, in the sense that, all other things being equal, simpler metaphysical theories are more likely to be true. In this paper I defend the notion that theoretical simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics, against several recent objections. I do not give any direct arguments for the thesis that simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics, since I am aware of no such arguments. I do argue, however, that (...)
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  14. G. L. C. (1963). The Myth of Simplicity. Review of Metaphysics 17 (1):143-143.
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  15. Frank Cabrera (forthcoming). Cladistic Parsimony, Historical Linguistics, and Cultural Phylogenetics. Mind and Language.
    Here, I consider the recent application of phylogenetic methods in historical linguistics. After a preliminary survey of one such method, i.e. cladistic parsimony, I respond to two common criticisms of cultural phylogenies: (1) that cultural artifacts cannot be modeled as tree-like because of borrowing across lineages, and (2) that the mechanism of cultural change differs radically from that of biological evolution. I argue that while perhaps (1) remains true for certain cultural artifacts, the nature of language may be such as (...)
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  16. Frank Cabrera (forthcoming). Can There Be a Bayesian Explanationism? On the Prospects of a Productive Partnership. Synthese:1-28.
    In this paper, I consider the relationship between Inference to the Best Explanation and Bayesianism, both of which are well-known accounts of the nature of scientific inference. In Sect. 2, I give a brief overview of Bayesianism and IBE. In Sect. 3, I argue that IBE in its most prominently defended forms is difficult to reconcile with Bayesianism because not all of the items that feature on popular lists of “explanatory virtues”—by means of which IBE ranks competing explanations—have confirmational import. (...)
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  17. Sam Cowling (2013). Ideological Parsimony. Synthese 190 (17):3889-3908.
    The theoretical virtue of parsimony values the minimizing of theoretical commitments, but theoretical commitments come in two kinds : ontological and ideological. While the ontological commitments of a theory are the entities it posits, a theory’s ideological commitments are the primitive concepts it employs. Here, I show how we can extend the distinction between quantitative and qualitative parsimony, commonly drawn regarding ontological commitments, to the domain of ideological commitments. I then argue that qualitative ideological parsimony is a theoretical virtue. My (...)
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  18. Craig DeLancey (2011). Does a Parsimony Principle Entail a Simple World? Metaphysica 12 (2):87-100.
    Many scholars claim that a parsimony principle has ontological implications. The most common such claim is that a parsimony principle entails that the “world” is simple. This ontological claim appears to often be coupled with the assumption that a parsimony principle would be corroborated if the “world” were simple. I clarify these claims, describe some minimal features of simplicity, and then show that both these claims are either false or they depend upon an implausible notion of simplicity. In their stead, (...)
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  19. Wil Derkse (1992). On Simplicity and Elegance: An Essay in Intellectual History. Eburon.
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  20. Trent Dougherty & Logan Paul Gage (2015). New Atheist Approaches to Religion. In Graham Oppy (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy of Religion. Routledge 51-62.
    In this article, we examine in detail the New Atheists' most serious argument for the conclusion that God does not exist, namely, Richard Dawkins's Ultimate 747 Gambit. Dawkins relies upon a strong explanatory principle involving simplicity. We systematically inspect the various kinds of simplicity that Dawkins may invoke. Finding his crucial premises false on any common conception of simplicity, we conclude that Dawkins has not given good reason to think God does not exist.
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  21. Rayme Engel & M. G. Yoes Jr (1996). Exponentiating Entities by Necessity. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (2):293 – 304.
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  22. Evan Fales (1978). Theoretical Simplicity and Defeasibility. Philosophy of Science 45 (2):273-288.
    Theoretical simplicity is difficult to characterize, and evidently can depend upon a number of distinct factors. One such desirable characteristic is that the laws of a theory have relatively few "counterinstances" whose accommodation requires the invocation of a ceteris paribus condition and ancillary explanation. It is argued that, when one theory is reduced to another, such that the laws of the second govern the behavior of the parts of the entities in the domain of the first, there is a characteristic (...)
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  23. Simon Fitzpatrick (2015). Nativism, Empiricism, and Ockham’s Razor. Erkenntnis 80 (5):895-922.
    This paper discusses the role that appeals to theoretical simplicity have played in the debate between nativists and empiricists in cognitive science. Both sides have been keen to make use of such appeals in defence of their respective positions about the structure and ontogeny of the human mind. Focusing on the standard simplicity argument employed by empiricist-minded philosophers and cognitive scientists—what I call “the argument for minimal innateness”—I identify various problems with such arguments—in particular, the apparent arbitrariness of the relevant (...)
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  24. Simon Fitzpatrick (2013). Simplicity in the Philosophy of Science. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  25. Simon Fitzpatrick (2013). Kelly on Ockham's Razor and Truth-Finding Efficiency. Philosophy of Science 80 (2):298-309.
    This paper discusses Kevin Kelly’s recent attempt to justify Ockham’s Razor in terms of truth-finding efficiency. It is argued that Kelly’s justification fails to warrant confidence in the empirical content of theories recommended by Ockham’s Razor. This is a significant problem if, as Kelly and many others believe, considerations of simplicity play a pervasive role in scientific reasoning, underlying even our best tested theories, for the proposal will fail to warrant the use of these theories in practical prediction.
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  26. Simon Fitzpatrick (2009). The Primate Mindreading Controversy : A Case Study in Simplicity and Methodology in Animal Psychology. In Robert W. Lurz (ed.), The Philosophy of Animal Minds. Cambridge University Press 224--246.
  27. Michael Gellert (2008). The Way of the Small: Why Less is Truly More. Distributed to the Trade by Red Wheel/Weiser, Llc.
    " The Way of the Small teaches ways to embrace even life's more difficult passages such as aging, failure, illness, or the loss of a loved one, making even our pain a path to the sacred that helps us find meaning in life as it happens. * ...
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  28. Nelson Goodman (1961). Safety, Strength, Simplicity. Philosophy of Science 28 (2):150-151.
  29. Adolf Grünbaum (2007). Is Simplicity Evidence of Truth? Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82 (61):179 - 189.
    In a short 1997 book entitled Simplicity as Evidence of Truth , the Oxford philosopher Richard Swinburne has put forward the following thesis summarily: ‘… for theories rendering equally probable our observational data , fitting equally well with background knowledge, the simplest is most probably true’.
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  30. John Horden (forthcoming). Devious Stipulations. Oxford Studies in Metaphysics.
    Recent attempts to answer ontological questions through conceptual analysis have been controversial. Still, it seems reasonable to assume that if the existence of certain things analytically follows from sentences we already accept, then there is no further ontological commitment involved in affirming the existence of those things. More generally, it is plausible that whenever a sentence analytically entails another, the conjunction of those sentences requires nothing more of the world for its truth than the former sentence alone. In his ‘Analyticity (...)
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  31. Michael Huemer (2009). When is Parsimony a Virtue? Philosophical Quarterly 59 (235):216-236.
    Parsimony is a virtue of empirical theories. Is it also a virtue of philosophical theories? I review four contemporary accounts of the virtue of parsimony in empirical theorizing, and consider how each might apply to two prominent appeals to parsimony in the philosophical literature, those made on behalf of physicalism and on behalf of nominalism. None of the accounts of the virtue of parsimony extends naturally to either of these philosophical cases. This suggests that in typical philosophical contexts, ontological simplicity (...)
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  32. John G. Kemeny (1953). The Use of Simplicity in Induction. Philosophical Review 62 (3):391-408.
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  33. Henry E. Kyburg Jr (1961). A Modest Proposal Concerning Simplicity. Philosophical Review 70 (3):390-395.
    Kyburg proposes the following test for the simplicity of a theory: the complexity of a theory is measured by the number of quantifiers that occur in the set of statements comprising the theory. (staff).
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  34. N. P. Landsman (1995). Observation and Superselection in Quantum Mechanics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 26 (1):45-73.
    We attempt to clarify the main conceptual issues in approaches to ‘objectification’ or ‘measurement’ in quantum mechanics which are based on superselection rules. Such approaches venture to derive the emergence of classical ‘reality’ relative to a class of observers; those believing that the classical world exists intrinsically and absolutely are advised against reading this paper. The prototype approach (K. Hepp, Helv. Phys. Acta45 (1972), 237–248) where superselection sectors are assumed in the state space of the apparatus is shown to be (...)
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  35. Nicholas Maxwell (2014). Unification and Revolution: A Paradigm for Paradigms. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 45 (1):133-149.
    Incommensurability was Kuhn’s worst mistake. If it is to be found anywhere in science, it would be in physics. But revolutions in theoretical physics all embody theoretical unification. Far from obliterating the idea that there is a persisting theoretical idea in physics, revolutions do just the opposite: they all actually exemplify the persisting idea of underlying unity. Furthermore, persistent acceptance of unifying theories in physics when empirically more successful disunified rivals can always be concocted means that physics makes a persistent (...)
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  36. Nicholas Maxwell (2013). Has Science Established That the Cosmos is Physically Comprehensible? In A. Travena & B. Soen (eds.), Recent Advances in Cosmology. Nova Science Publishers 1-56.
    Most scientists would hold that science has not established that the cosmos is physically comprehensible – i.e. such that there is some as-yet undiscovered true physical theory of everything that is unified. This is an empirically untestable, or metaphysical thesis. It thus lies beyond the scope of science. Only when physics has formulated a testable unified theory of everything which has been amply corroborated empirically will science be in a position to declare that it has established that the cosmos is (...)
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  37. Nicholas Maxwell (2006). Aim-Oriented Empiricism: David Miller's Critique. PhilSci Archive.
    For three decades I have expounded and defended aim-oriented empiricism, a view of science which, l claim, solves a number of problems in the philosophy of science and has important implications for science itself and, when generalized, for the whole of academic inquiry, and for our capacity to solve our current global problems. Despite these claims, the view has received scant attention from philosophers of science. Recently, however, David Miller has criticized the view. Miller’s criticisms are, however, not valid.
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  38. Nicholas Maxwell (2000). A New Conception of Science. Physics World 13 (8):17-18.
    When scientists choose one theory over another, they reject out of hand all those that are not simple, unified or explanatory. Yet the orthodox view of science is that evidence alone should determine what can be accepted. Nicholas Maxwell thinks he has a way out of the dilemma.
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  39. Ben Lazare Mijuskovic (1984). Contingent Immaterialism: Meaning, Freedom, Time, and Mind. B.R. Grüner.
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  40. Moti Mizrahi (2016). Why Simpler Arguments Are Better. Argumentation 30 (3):247-261.
    In this paper, I argue that, other things being equal, simpler arguments are better. In other words, I argue that, other things being equal, it is rational to prefer simpler arguments over less simple ones. I sketch three arguments in support of this claim: an argument from mathematical proofs, an argument from scientific theories, and an argument from the conjunction rule.
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  41. P. N. (1995). Observation and Superselection in Quantum Mechanics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 26 (1):45-73.
    We attempt to clarify the main conceptual issues in approaches to 'objectification' or 'measurement' in quantum mechanics which are based on superselection rules. Such approaches venture to derive the emergence of classical 'reality' relative to a class of observers; those believing that the classical world exists intrinsically and absolutely are advised against reading this paper. The prototype approach, 237-248) where superselection sectors are assumed in the state space of the apparatus is shown to be untenable. Instead, one should couple system (...)
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  42. Daniel Nolan (1997). Quantitative Parsimony. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (3):329-343.
    In this paper, I motivate the view that quantitative parsimony is a theoretical virtue: that is, we should be concerned not only to minimize the number of kinds of entities postulated by our theories (i. e. maximize qualitative parsimony), but we should also minimize the number of entities postulated which fall under those kinds. In order to motivate this view, I consider two cases from the history of science: the postulation of the neutrino and the proposal of Avogadro's hypothesis. I (...)
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  43. Steve Petersen, Minimum Message Length as a Truth-Conducive Simplicity Measure.
    given at the 2007 Formal Epistemology Workshop at Carnegie Mellon June 2nd. Good compression must track higher vs lower probability of inputs, and this is one way to approach how simplicity tracks truth.
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  44. John Reed (2010). Elegant Simplicity: Reflections on an Alternative Way of Being. Calder Walker.
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  45. B. Russell (1905). POINCARÉ, H. - Science and Hypothesis. [REVIEW] Mind 14:412.
  46. Mikhail Aleksandrovich Slemnev (1976). Prostoe I Slozhnoe V Prirode I Poznanii. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
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  47. Elliott Sober (1975). Simplicity. Clarendon Press.
    Attempts to show that the simplicity of a hypothesis can be measured by attending to how well it answers certain kinds of questions.
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  48. Mark Sprevak & David Statham (2015). Group Minds and Explanatory Simplicity. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 76:3-19.
    This paper explores the claim that explanation of a group 's behaviour in term of individual mental states is, in principle, superior to explanation of that behaviour in terms of group mental states. We focus on the supposition that individual-level explanation is superior because it is simpler than group -level explanation. In this paper, we consider three different simplicity metrics. We argue that on none of those metrics does individual-level explanation achieve greater simplicity than a group -level alternative. We conclude (...)
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  49. David Statham (2012). Group Cognition & Explanatory Simplicity. Dissertation, University of Edinburgh
    In three recent papers, Rob Rupert criticises group mind proposals and presents original arguments against group minds and group cognition. These criticisms and arguments motivate the conclusion that although the discovery of group minds remains an open empirical possibility, there are strong reasons for thinking that no such group minds exist. Chief amongst Rupert’s arguments is the argument from explanatory simplicity. His claim is that, for any explanation of intelligent behaviour that appeals to group minds, there exists an alternative explanation (...)
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  50. Jacob Stegenga (2015). Theory Choice and Social Choice: Okasha Versus Sen. Mind 124 (493):263-277.
    A platitude that took hold with Kuhn is that there can be several equally good ways of balancing theoretical virtues for theory choice. Okasha recently modelled theory choice using technical apparatus from the domain of social choice: famously, Arrow showed that no method of social choice can jointly satisfy four desiderata, and each of the desiderata in social choice has an analogue in theory choice. Okasha suggested that one can avoid the Arrow analogue for theory choice by employing a strategy (...)
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