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  1. A Neglected Proposal Concerning Simplicity.Robert Ackermann - 1963 - Philosophy of Science 30 (3):228-235.
    This paper is intended to explore Jeffrey's proposal for the measurement of the simplicity of scientific laws. The first part is a sketch of Jeffreys' development of a view on simplicity, which will be followed by a discussion of what seem to be some rather crucial defects in the proposal as it stands. It will be suggested here that no plausible way of countering these defects seems available.
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  2. Inductive Simplicity.Robert Ackermann - 1961 - Philosophy of Science 28 (2):152-161.
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  3. Quantitative Parsimony and Explanatory Power.Baker Alan - 2003 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (2):245-259.
    The desire to minimize the number of individual new entities postulated is often referred to as quantitative parsimony. Its influence on the default hypotheses formulated by scientists seems undeniable. I argue that there is a wide class of cases for which the preference for quantitatively parsimonious hypotheses is demonstrably rational. The justification, in a nutshell, is that such hypotheses have greater explanatory power than less parsimonious alternatives. My analysis is restricted to a class of cases I shall refer to as (...)
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  4. Simplicity as Expressibility: An Attempt Toward a Modest Theory of Simplicity.Thavaj Ananthothai - 1988 - Dissertation, University of Colorado at Boulder
    There are infinitely many possible hypotheses that are internally consistent and are compatible with a finite set of data. One of the criteria most often cited by the scientists when trying to decide between these "empirically equivalent" theories is simplicity. The principle of simplicity recommends that, in the absence of other overriding factors, the simplest theory compatible with the evidence should, at least on a prima facie basis, be preferred. This thesis is concerned with the problem of explicating the notion (...)
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  5. THE PRINCIPLE OF ECONOMY AS AN EVALUATION CRITERION OF THEORIES. A CASE EXAMPLE: THE DYNAMIC UNIVERSE VS. PHYSICS AND COSMOLOGY BASED ON GENERAL RELATIVITY.Styrman Avril - 2014 - In Tuomo Suntola & Avril Styrman (eds.), SCIENTIFIC MODELS AND A COMPREHENSIVE PICTURE OF REALITY. La Nuova Critica. Volume 63-64. Publication year is officially set on 2014, but the issue was released on 2016. The general editor of the journal is Arturo Carsetti. Rome: La Nuova Critica. pp. 63-89.
    The principle of economy favours the theory which gives the most accurate predictions; of two equally accurate theories, economy favours the one which incorporates least metaphysics. The intention is to show that were metaphysical commitments of theories openly acknowledged and simplicity and other virtues generally accepted as judges in theory choice, the progress rate of science would likely become more optimal.
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  6. Occam's Razor in Science: A Case Study From Biogeography.A. Baker - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (2):193-215.
  7. Simplicity.Alan Baker - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  8. What is the Problem of Ad Hoc Hypotheses?Greg Bamford - 1999 - Science & Education 8 (4):375 - 86..
    The received view of an ad hochypothesis is that it accounts for only the observation(s) it was designed to account for, and so non-ad hocness is generally held to be necessary or important for an introduced hypothesis or modification to a theory. Attempts by Popper and several others to convincingly explicate this view, however, prove to be unsuccessful or of doubtful value, and familiar and firmer criteria for evaluating the hypotheses or modified theories so classified are characteristically available. These points (...)
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  9. On Simplicity in Empirical Hypotheses.S. F. Barker - 1961 - Philosophy of Science 28 (2):162-171.
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  10. Simple is Not Easy.Edison Barrios - 2016 - Synthese 193 (7):2261-2305.
    I review and challenge the views on simplicity and its role in linguistics put forward by Ludlow. In particular, I criticize the claim that simplicity—in the sense pertinent to science—is nothing more than ease of use or “user-friendliness”, motivated by economy of labor. I argue that Ludlow’s discussion fails to do justice to the diversity of factors that are relevant to simplicity considerations. This, in turn, leads to the neglect of crucial cases in which the rationale for simplification is unmistakably (...)
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  11. Curve-Fitting for Bayesians?Belot Gordon - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (3):689-702.
    Bayesians often assume, suppose, or conjecture that for any reasonable explication of the notion of simplicity a prior can be designed that will enforce a preference for hypotheses simpler in just that sense. But it is shown here that there are simplicity-driven approaches to curve-fitting problems that cannot be captured within the orthodox Bayesian framework.
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  12. Sober as a Judge.Gordon Belot - 2016 - Metascience 25 (3):387-392.
    In Ockham's Razors: A User's Guide, Elliott Sober argues that parsimony considerations are epistemically relevant on the grounds that certain methods of model selection, such as the Akaike Information Criterion, exhibit good asymptotic behaviour and take the number of adjustable parameters in a model into account. I raise some worries about this form of argument.
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  13. Probabilistic Reasoning in Cosmology.Yann Benétreau-Dupin - 2015 - Dissertation, The University of Western Ontario
    Cosmology raises novel philosophical questions regarding the use of probabilities in inference. This work aims at identifying and assessing lines of arguments and problematic principles in probabilistic reasoning in cosmology. -/- The first, second, and third papers deal with the intersection of two distinct problems: accounting for selection effects, and representing ignorance or indifference in probabilistic inferences. These two problems meet in the cosmology literature when anthropic considerations are used to predict cosmological parameters by conditionalizing the distribution of, e.g., the (...)
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  14. Review of 'Theoretical Virtues in Science' by Samuel Schindler. [REVIEW]Darren Bradley - manuscript
  15. Philosophers Should Prefer Simpler Theories.Darren Bradley - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (12):3049-3067.
    Should philosophers prefer simpler theories? Huemer (Philos Q 59:216–236, 2009) argues that the reasons to prefer simpler theories in science do not apply in philosophy. I will argue that Huemer is mistaken—the arguments he marshals for preferring simpler theories in science can also be applied in philosophy. Like Huemer, I will focus on the philosophy of mind and the nominalism/Platonism debate. But I want to engage with the broader issue of whether simplicity is relevant to philosophy.
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  16. Simplicity as a Criterion of Theory Choice in Metaphysics.Andrew Brenner - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2687-2707.
    Metaphysicians frequently appeal to the idea that theoretical simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics, in the sense that, all other things being equal, simpler metaphysical theories are more likely to be true. In this paper I defend the notion that theoretical simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics, against several recent objections. I do not give any direct arguments for the thesis that simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics, since I am aware of no such arguments. I do argue, however, that (...)
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  17. The Myth of Simplicity.G. L. C. - 1963 - Review of Metaphysics 17 (1):143-143.
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  18. Cladistic Parsimony, Historical Linguistics and Cultural Phylogenetics.Frank Cabrera - 2017 - Mind and Language 32 (1):65-100.
    Here, I consider the recent application of phylogenetic methods in historical linguistics. After a preliminary survey of one such method, i.e. cladistic parsimony, I respond to two common criticisms of cultural phylogenies: that cultural artifacts cannot be modeled as tree-like because of borrowing across lineages, and that the mechanism of cultural change differs radically from that of biological evolution. I argue that while perhaps remains true for certain cultural artifacts, the nature of language may be such as to side-step this (...)
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  19. Can There Be a Bayesian Explanationism? On the Prospects of a Productive Partnership.Frank Cabrera - 2017 - Synthese 194 (4):1245–1272.
    In this paper, I consider the relationship between Inference to the Best Explanation and Bayesianism, both of which are well-known accounts of the nature of scientific inference. In Sect. 2, I give a brief overview of Bayesianism and IBE. In Sect. 3, I argue that IBE in its most prominently defended forms is difficult to reconcile with Bayesianism because not all of the items that feature on popular lists of “explanatory virtues”—by means of which IBE ranks competing explanations—have confirmational import. (...)
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  20. Belief Revision in Science: Informational Economy and Paraconsistency.Daniel Coimbra - 2017 - Contemplação 1 (15):19-38.
    In the present paper, our objective is to examine the application of belief revision models to scientific rationality. We begin by considering the standard model AGM, and along the way a number of problems surface that make it seem inadequate for this specific application. After considering three different heuristics of informational economy that seem fit for science, we consider some possible adaptations for it and argue informally that, overall, some paraconsistent models seem to better satisfy these principles, following Testa (2015). (...)
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  21. Ideological Parsimony.Sam Cowling - 2013 - Synthese 190 (17):3889-3908.
    The theoretical virtue of parsimony values the minimizing of theoretical commitments, but theoretical commitments come in two kinds : ontological and ideological. While the ontological commitments of a theory are the entities it posits, a theory’s ideological commitments are the primitive concepts it employs. Here, I show how we can extend the distinction between quantitative and qualitative parsimony, commonly drawn regarding ontological commitments, to the domain of ideological commitments. I then argue that qualitative ideological parsimony is a theoretical virtue. My (...)
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  22. Does a Parsimony Principle Entail a Simple World?Craig DeLancey - 2011 - Metaphysica 12 (2):87-100.
    Many scholars claim that a parsimony principle has ontological implications. The most common such claim is that a parsimony principle entails that the “world” is simple. This ontological claim appears to often be coupled with the assumption that a parsimony principle would be corroborated if the “world” were simple. I clarify these claims, describe some minimal features of simplicity, and then show that both these claims are either false or they depend upon an implausible notion of simplicity. In their stead, (...)
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  23. On Simplicity and Elegance: An Essay in Intellectual History.Wil Derkse - 1992 - Eburon.
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  24. New Atheist Approaches to Religion.Trent Dougherty & Logan Paul Gage - 2015 - In Graham Oppy (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy of Religion. Routledge. pp. 51-62.
    In this article, we examine in detail the New Atheists' most serious argument for the conclusion that God does not exist, namely, Richard Dawkins's Ultimate 747 Gambit. Dawkins relies upon a strong explanatory principle involving simplicity. We systematically inspect the various kinds of simplicity that Dawkins may invoke. Finding his crucial premises false on any common conception of simplicity, we conclude that Dawkins has not given good reason to think God does not exist.
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  25. Exponentiating Entities by Necessity.Rayme Engel & M. G. Yoes Jr - 1996 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (2):293 – 304.
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  26. Theoretical Simplicity and Defeasibility.Evan Fales - 1978 - Philosophy of Science 45 (2):273-288.
    Theoretical simplicity is difficult to characterize, and evidently can depend upon a number of distinct factors. One such desirable characteristic is that the laws of a theory have relatively few "counterinstances" whose accommodation requires the invocation of a ceteris paribus condition and ancillary explanation. It is argued that, when one theory is reduced to another, such that the laws of the second govern the behavior of the parts of the entities in the domain of the first, there is a characteristic (...)
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  27. Nativism, Empiricism, and Ockham’s Razor.Simon Fitzpatrick - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (5):895-922.
    This paper discusses the role that appeals to theoretical simplicity have played in the debate between nativists and empiricists in cognitive science. Both sides have been keen to make use of such appeals in defence of their respective positions about the structure and ontogeny of the human mind. Focusing on the standard simplicity argument employed by empiricist-minded philosophers and cognitive scientists—what I call “the argument for minimal innateness”—I identify various problems with such arguments—in particular, the apparent arbitrariness of the relevant (...)
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  28. Kelly on Ockham’s Razor and Truth-Finding Efficiency.Simon Fitzpatrick - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (2):298-309.
    This paper discusses Kevin Kelly’s recent attempt to justify Ockham’s Razor in terms of truth-finding efficiency. It is argued that Kelly’s justification fails to warrant confidence in the empirical content of theories recommended by Ockham’s Razor. This is a significant problem if, as Kelly and many others believe, considerations of simplicity play a pervasive role in scientific reasoning, underlying even our best tested theories, for the proposal will fail to warrant the use of these theories in practical prediction.
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  29. Simplicity in the Philosophy of Science.Simon Fitzpatrick - 2013 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  30. The Primate Mindreading Controversy : A Case Study in Simplicity and Methodology in Animal Psychology.Simon Fitzpatrick - 2009 - In Robert W. Lurz (ed.), The Philosophy of Animal Minds. Cambridge University Press. pp. 224--246.
  31. The Frugal Inference of Causal Relations.Malcolm Forster, Garvesh Raskutti, Reuben Stern & Naftali Weinberger - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (3):821-848.
    Recent approaches to causal modelling rely upon the causal Markov condition, which specifies which probability distributions are compatible with a directed acyclic graph. Further principles are required in order to choose among the large number of DAGs compatible with a given probability distribution. Here we present a principle that we call frugality. This principle tells one to choose the DAG with the fewest causal arrows. We argue that frugality has several desirable properties compared to the other principles that have been (...)
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  32. Simplicity and Observability: When Are Particles Elementary?Kostas Gavroglu - 1989 - Synthese 79 (3):89 - 100.
    It is not possible to dismiss the atomistic paradigm because the proposed elementary particles are too many (and, hence, it is claimed, they do not provide a simple account of nature) or because it is not possible to observe quarks in an isolated manner. The developments in particle physics have brought about radical changes to our notions of simplicity and observability, and in this paper we elaborate on these changes. It is as a result of these changes that the present (...)
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  33. The Way of the Small: Why Less is Truly More.Michael Gellert - 2008 - Distributed to the Trade by Red Wheel/Weiser, Llc.
    " The Way of the Small teaches ways to embrace even life's more difficult passages such as aging, failure, illness, or the loss of a loved one, making even our pain a path to the sacred that helps us find meaning in life as it happens. * ...
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  34. Safety, Strength, Simplicity.Nelson Goodman - 1961 - Philosophy of Science 28 (2):150-151.
  35. Is Simplicity Evidence of Truth?Adolf Grünbaum - 2007 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 61:179 - 189.
    In a short 1997 book entitled Simplicity as Evidence of Truth , the Oxford philosopher Richard Swinburne has put forward the following thesis summarily: ‘… for theories rendering equally probable our observational data , fitting equally well with background knowledge, the simplest is most probably true’.
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  36. Devious Stipulations.John Horden - 2017 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 10.
    Recent attempts to answer ontological questions through conceptual analysis have been controversial. Still, it seems reasonable to assume that if the existence of certain things analytically follows from sentences we already accept, then there is no further ontological commitment involved in affirming the existence of those things. More generally, it is plausible that whenever a sentence analytically entails another, the conjunction of those sentences requires nothing more of the world for its truth than the former sentence alone. In his ‘Analyticity (...)
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  37. When is Parsimony a Virtue?Michael Huemer - 2009 - Philosophical Quarterly 59 (235):216-236.
    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 (...)
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  38. Poincaré’s Aesthetics of Science.Milena Ivanova - unknown
    This paper offers a systematic analysis of Poincaré’s understanding of beauty in science. In particular, the paper examines the epistemic significance Poincaré attributes to aesthetic judgement by reconstructing and analysing his arguments on simplicity and unity in science. I offer a consistent reconstruction of Poincaré’s account and show that for Poincaré simplicity and unity are regulative principles, linked to the aim of science – that of achieving understanding of how phenomena relate. I show how Poincaré’s account of beauty in science (...)
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  39. The Use of Simplicity in Induction.John G. Kemeny - 1953 - Philosophical Review 62 (3):391-408.
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  40. A Modest Proposal Concerning Simplicity.Henry E. Kyburg - 1961 - Philosophical Review 70 (3):390-395.
    Kyburg proposes the following test for the simplicity of a theory: the complexity of a theory is measured by the number of quantifiers that occur in the set of statements comprising the theory. (staff).
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  41. Observation and Superselection in Quantum Mechanics.N. P. Landsman - 1995 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 26 (1):45-73.
    We attempt to clarify the main conceptual issues in approaches to ‘objectification’ or ‘measurement’ in quantum mechanics which are based on superselection rules. Such approaches venture to derive the emergence of classical ‘reality’ relative to a class of observers; those believing that the classical world exists intrinsically and absolutely are advised against reading this paper. The prototype approach (K. Hepp, Helv. Phys. Acta45 (1972), 237–248) where superselection sectors are assumed in the state space of the apparatus is shown to be (...)
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  42. A Unified Cognitive Model of Visual Filling-In Based on an Emergic Network Architecture.David Pierre Leibovitz - 2013 - Dissertation, Carleton University
    The Emergic Cognitive Model (ECM) is a unified computational model of visual filling-in based on the Emergic Network architecture. The Emergic Network was designed to help realize systems undergoing continuous change. In this thesis, eight different filling-in phenomena are demonstrated under a regime of continuous eye movement (and under static eye conditions as well). -/- ECM indirectly demonstrates the power of unification inherent with Emergic Networks when cognition is decomposed according to finer-grained functions supporting change. These can interact to raise (...)
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  43. Unification and Revolution: A Paradigm for Paradigms.Nicholas Maxwell - 2014 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 45 (1):133-149.
    Incommensurability was Kuhn’s worst mistake. If it is to be found anywhere in science, it would be in physics. But revolutions in theoretical physics all embody theoretical unification. Far from obliterating the idea that there is a persisting theoretical idea in physics, revolutions do just the opposite: they all actually exemplify the persisting idea of underlying unity. Furthermore, persistent acceptance of unifying theories in physics when empirically more successful disunified rivals can always be concocted means that physics makes a persistent (...)
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  44. Has Science Established That the Cosmos is Physically Comprehensible?Nicholas Maxwell - 2012 - In A. Travena & B. Soen (eds.), Recent Advances in Cosmology. Nova Publishers. pp. 1-56.
    Most scientists would hold that science has not established that the cosmos is physically comprehensible – i.e. such that there is some as-yet undiscovered true physical theory of everything that is unified. This is an empirically untestable, or metaphysical thesis. It thus lies beyond the scope of science. Only when physics has formulated a testable unified theory of everything which has been amply corroborated empirically will science be in a position to declare that it has established that the cosmos is (...)
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  45. Aim-Oriented Empiricism: David Miller's Critique.Nicholas Maxwell - 2006 - PhilSci Archive.
    For three decades I have expounded and defended aim-oriented empiricism, a view of science which, l claim, solves a number of problems in the philosophy of science and has important implications for science itself and, when generalized, for the whole of academic inquiry, and for our capacity to solve our current global problems. Despite these claims, the view has received scant attention from philosophers of science. Recently, however, David Miller has criticized the view. Miller’s criticisms are, however, not valid.
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  46. A New Conception of Science.Nicholas Maxwell - 2000 - Physics World 13 (8):17-18.
    When scientists choose one theory over another, they reject out of hand all those that are not simple, unified or explanatory. Yet the orthodox view of science is that evidence alone should determine what can be accepted. Nicholas Maxwell thinks he has a way out of the dilemma.
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  47. Contingent Immaterialism: Meaning, Freedom, Time, and Mind.Ben Lazare Mijuskovic - 1984 - B.R. Grüner.
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  48. Are All Primitives Created Equal?James Miller - 2018 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 56 (2):273-292.
    Primitives are both important and unavoidable, and which set of primitives we endorse will greatly shape our theories and how those theories provide solutions to the problems that we take to be important. After introducing the notion of a primitive posit, I discuss the different kinds of primitives that we might posit. Following Cowling (2013), I distinguish between ontological and ideological primitives, and, following Benovsky (2013) between functional and content views of primitives. I then propose that these two distinctions cut (...)
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  49. Why Simpler Arguments Are Better.Moti Mizrahi - 2016 - Argumentation 30 (3):247-261.
    In this paper, I argue that, other things being equal, simpler arguments are better. In other words, I argue that, other things being equal, it is rational to prefer simpler arguments over less simple ones. I sketch three arguments in support of this claim: an argument from mathematical proofs, an argument from scientific theories, and an argument from the conjunction rule.
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  50. Unification Strategies in Cognitive Science.Marcin Miłkowski - 2016 - Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric 48 (1):13–33.
    Cognitive science is an interdisciplinary conglomerate of various research fields and disciplines, which increases the risk of fragmentation of cognitive theories. However, while most previous work has focused on theoretical integration, some kinds of integration may turn out to be monstrous, or result in superficially lumped and unrelated bodies of knowledge. In this paper, I distinguish theoretical integration from theoretical unification, and propose some analyses of theoretical unification dimensions. Moreover, two research strategies that are supposed to lead to unification are (...)
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