Non-empirical requirements scientific theories must satisfy: Simplicity, unification, explanation, beauty
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
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)|
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
No citations found.
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.
Martin Carrier & Jürgen Mittelstrass (1990). The Unity of Science. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 4 (1):17-31.
Steven D. Hales (2001). Evidence and the Afterlife. Philosophia 28 (1-4):335-346.
Jaegwon Kim (1966). On the Psycho-Physical Identity Theory. American Philosophical Quarterly 3 (July):227-35.
Otávio Bueno (1999). What is Structural Empiricism? Scientific Change in an Empiricist Setting. Erkenntnis 50 (1):55-81.
Nicholas Maxwell, Scientific Metaphysics. PhilSci Archive.
Evan Fales (1978). Theoretical Simplicity and Defeasibility. Philosophy of Science 45 (2):273-288.
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.
Nicholas Maxwell, Comprehensibility Rather Than Beauty. PhilSci Archive.
Nicholas Maxwell, Simplicity. PhilSci Archive.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads415 ( #3,809 of 1,911,604 )
Recent downloads (6 months)41 ( #17,167 of 1,911,604 )
How can I increase my downloads?