Coherence between Theories

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 35 (2):331-352 (2005)
This paper argues that conceptual factors are as important as empirical factors in theory acceptance. Coherence between a new theory that is assessed for acceptance and the existing (established) theories in the same domain is among such conceptual factors. For example, a new theory about spectroscopy that does not cohere with established theories of spectroscopy is unlikely to be accepted, even if it was supported by empirical considerations. It is argued that a new theory coheres with a group of established theories when it shares important elements with these theories and contains no items that conflict with their central concepts and assumptions.
Keywords coherence, intertheoretic coherence, consistency, clusters of theories.
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DOI 10.1080/00455091.2005.10716593
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