Ideological parsimony

Synthese 190 (17):3889-3908 (2013)
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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

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Sam Cowling
Denison University

Citations of this work

Grounding, Essence, And Identity.Fabrice Correia & Alexander Skiles - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (3):642-670.
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The modal view of essence.Sam Cowling - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (2):248-266.

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References found in this work

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Malden, Mass.: Blackwell.
New work for a theory of universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.

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