David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In this paper I will argue that, in general, where the evidence supports two theories equally, the simpler theory is not more likely to be true and is not likely to be nearer the truth. In other words simplicity does not tell us anything about model bias. Our preference for simpler theories (apart from their obvious pragmatic advantages) can be explained by the facts that humans are known to elaborate unsuccessful theories rather than attempt a thorough revision and that a fixed set of data can only justify adjusting a certain number of parameters to a limited degree of precision. No extra tendency towards simplicity in the natural world is necessary to explain our preference for simpler theories. Thus Occam's razor eliminates itself (when interpreted in this form).
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Bruce Edmonds (2013). Complexity and Context-Dependency. Foundations of Science 18 (4):745-755.
Similar books and articles
Samuel A. Richmond (1996). A Simplification of the Theory of Simplicity. Synthese 107 (3):373 - 393.
Kevin Kelly & Conor Mayo-Wilson (2010). Ockham Efficiency Theorem for Stochastic Empirical Methods. Journal of Philosophical Logic 39 (6):679-712.
James W. McAllister (1991). The Simplicity of Theories: Its Degree and Form. [REVIEW] Journal for General Philosophy of Science 22 (1):1-14.
Aaron Sloman, Simplicity and Ontologies The Trade-Off Between Simplicity of Theories and Sophistication of Ontologies.
Nicholas Maxwell, Simplicity. PhilSci Archive.
Roger White (2005). Why Favour Simplicity? Analysis 65 (287):205–210.
Added to index2010-04-11
Total downloads32 ( #63,320 of 1,410,535 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #58,228 of 1,410,535 )
How can I increase my downloads?