When is parsimony a virtue?

Philosophical Quarterly 59 (235):216-236 (2009)
Abstract
Parsimony is a virtue of empirical theories. Is it also a virtue of philosophical theories? I review four contemporary accounts of the virtue of parsimony in empirical theorizing, and consider how each might apply to two prominent appeals to parsimony in the philosophical literature, those made on behalf of physicalism and on behalf of nominalism. None of the accounts of the virtue of parsimony extends naturally to either of these philosophical cases. This suggests that in typical philosophical contexts, ontological simplicity has no evidential value.
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    References found in this work BETA
    Terence E. Horgan (1982). Supervenience and Microphysics. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 63 (January):29-43.
    David Lewis (1983). New Work for a Theory of Universals. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (December):343-377.

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    Citations of this work BETA
    Michael Huemer (2009). Explanationist Aid for the Theory of Inductive Logic. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (2):345-375.

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