David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
This paper presents a new explanation of how preferring the simplest theory compatible with experience assists one in ﬁnding the true answer to a scientiﬁc question when the answers are theories or models. Inquiry is portrayed as an unending game between science and nature in which the scientist aims to converge to the true theory on the basis of accumulating information. Simplicity is a topological invariant reﬂecting sequences of theory choices that nature can force an arbitrary, convergent scientist to produce. It is demonstrated that among the methods that converge to the truth in an empirical problem, the ones that do so with a minimum number of reversals of opinion prior to convergence are exactly the ones that prefer simple theories. The approach explains not only simplicity tastes in model selection, but aspects of theory testing and the unwillingness of natural science to break symmetries without a reason.
|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
Steven E. Wallis (2015). Structures of Logic in Policy and Theory: Identifying Sub-Systemic Bricks for Investigating, Building, and Understanding Conceptual Systems. Foundations of Science 20 (3):213-231.
Similar books and articles
Luigi Scorzato (2013). On the Role of Simplicity in Science. Synthese 190 (14):2867-2895.
Nicholas Maxwell, Simplicity. PhilSci Archive.
James W. McAllister (1991). The Simplicity of Theories: Its Degree and Form. [REVIEW] Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 22 (1):1-14.
Arnold Zellner, Hugo A. Keuzenkamp & Michael McAleer (eds.) (2001). Simplicity, Inference and Modeling: Keeping It Sophisticatedly Simple. Cambridge University Press.
Aaron Sloman, Simplicity and Ontologies The Trade-Off Between Simplicity of Theories and Sophistication of Ontologies.
Kevin Kelly (2007). A New Solution to the Puzzle of Simplicity. Philosophy of Science 74 (5):561-573.
Added to index2009-12-11
Total downloads29 ( #94,044 of 1,700,300 )
Recent downloads (6 months)9 ( #69,042 of 1,700,300 )
How can I increase my downloads?