Non-empirical requirements scientific theories must satisfy: Simplicity, unification, explanation, beauty

PhilSci Archive (2004)
A scientific theory, in order to be accepted as a part of theoretical scientific knowledge, must satisfy both empirical and non-empirical requirements, the latter having to do with simplicity, unity, explanatory character, symmetry, beauty. No satisfactory, generally accepted account of such non-empirical requirements has so far been given. Here, a proposal is put forward which, it is claimed, makes a contribution towards solving the problem. This proposal concerns unity of physical theory. In order to satisfy the non-empirical requirement of unity, a physical theory must be such that the same laws govern all possible phenomena to which the theory applies. Eight increasingly demanding versions of this requirement are distinguished. Some implications for other non-empirical requirements, and for our understanding of science are indicated.
Keywords Explanation  Theoretical Unity  Theoretical Simplicity
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive Nicholas Maxwell, Non-empirical requirements scientific theories must satisfy: Simplicity, unification, explanation, beauty
External links
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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Margaret Morrison (1994). Unified Theories and Disparate Things. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:365 - 373.
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.
Jaegwon Kim (1966). On the Psycho-Physical Identity Theory. American Philosophical Quarterly 3 (July):227-35.
Martin Carrier & Jürgen Mittelstrass (1990). The Unity of Science. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 4 (1):17-31.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

364 ( #2,166 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

21 ( #40,147 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.