Ideological parsimony

Synthese 190 (17):3889-3908 (2013)
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 defense proceeds by demonstrating the merits of qualitative ideological parsimony and by showing how the qualitative conception of ideological parsimony undermines two notable arguments from ideological parsimony: David Lewis’ defense of modal realism and Ted Sider’s defense of mereological nihilism
Keywords Theoretical virtues  Ontology  Ideology  Parsimony  Simplicity
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-012-0231-7
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References found in this work BETA
David Lewis (1983). New Work for a Theory of Universals. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (December):343-377.

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Sam Cowling (2014). Instantiation as Location. Philosophical Studies 167 (3):667-682.

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