Ockham Efficiency Theorem for Stochastic Empirical Methods

Abstract
Ockham’s razor is the principle that, all other things being equal, scientists ought to prefer simpler theories. In recent years, philosophers have argued that simpler theories make better predictions, possess theoretical virtues like explanatory power, and have other pragmatic virtues like computational tractability. However, such arguments fail to explain how and why a preference for simplicity can help one find true theories in scientific inquiry, unless one already assumes that the truth is simple. One new solution to that problem is the Ockham efficiency theorem (Kelly 2002, 2004, 2007a-d, Kelly and Glymour 2004), which states that scientists who heed Ockham’s razor retract their opinions less often and sooner than do their non-Ockham competitors. The theorem neglects, however, to consider competitors following random (“mixed”) strategies and in many applications random strategies are known to achieve better worst-case loss than deterministic strategies. In this paper, we describe two ways to extend the result to a very general class of random, empirical strategies. The first extension concerns expected retractions, retraction times, and errors and the second extension concerns retractions in chance, times of retractions in chance, and chances of errors
Keywords Ockham's Razor  Simplicity  Theory Choice
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 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


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,351
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  •   Try with proxy.
  •   Try with proxy.
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Only published papers are available at libraries
    References found in this work BETA
    Alan Baker (2003). Quantitative Parsimony and Explanatory Power. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (2):245-259.

    View all 21 references

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    Analytics

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index

    2010-09-14

    Total downloads

    7 ( #149,615 of 1,088,371 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    2 ( #42,603 of 1,088,371 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature


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