David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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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).
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Citations of this work BETA
Bruce Edmonds (2013). Complexity and Context-Dependency. Foundations of Science 18 (4):745-755.
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