David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Economic Methodology 8 (2):229-251 (2001)
Some empirically minded philosophers of science argue that the evidence should choose the best theory from among theoretical rivals. However, the evidence may not speak clearly, a problem of 'underdetermination of theory by data'. We examine this problem in a concrete setting, rival theories of smoking behaviour. We investigate whether several uncontested pieces of empirical evidence allow us to choose between two competing theoretical perspectives on smoking, rational choice and non-rational choice, respectively. Next, we develop a more refined taxonomy of smoking theories, and consider the consequences for theory testing. Finally, we examine some normative aspects of theory choice involving the appropriate scope of government action.
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References found in this work BETA
Larry Laudan (1990). Demystifying Underdetermination. In C. Wade Savage (ed.), Scientific Theories. University of Minnesota Press 267-97.
Citations of this work BETA
Andrew M. Yuengert (2006). Model Selection and Multiple Research Goals: The Case of Rational Addiction. Journal of Economic Methodology 13 (1):77-96.
Roger E. Backhouse & Matthias Klaes (2009). Applying Economics, Using Evidence. Journal of Economic Methodology 16 (2):139-144.
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