Ideological parsimony

Synthese 190 (17):3889-3908 (2013)
Authors
Sam Cowling
Denison University
Abstract
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 defense proceeds by demonstrating the merits of qualitative ideological parsimony and by showing how the qualitative conception of ideological parsimony undermines two notable arguments from ideological parsimony: David Lewis’ defense of modal realism and Ted Sider’s defense of mereological nihilism
Keywords Theoretical virtues  Ontology  Ideology  Parsimony  Simplicity
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-012-0231-7
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References found in this work BETA

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Blackwell.
New Work for a Theory of Universals.David Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
Essence and Modality.Kit Fine - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8:1-16.

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Citations of this work BETA

What Not to Multiply Without Necessity.Jonathan Schaffer - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (4):644-664.
Grounding, Essence, And Identity.Fabrice Correia & Alexander Skiles - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
Mereological Nihilism and Theoretical Unification.Andrew Brenner - 2015 - Analytic Philosophy 56 (4):318-337.

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