Better theories

Philosophy of Science 42 (1):20-27 (1975)
It is argued that a better theory neither (I) proves better at enabling us to realize our goals, nor (II) enables us to make more accurate predictions than a worse theory. (I) fails because it, tacitly, erroneously assumes, in talking of our goals, that individual preferences for theories can be aggregated into a social preference ordering; (II) fails because it cannot distinguish between important and unimportant predictions. Neither of these failures can be patched up by appealing to the notion of a true theory. The conclusion is that we as yet possess no adequate understanding of the relationships among theoretical progress, goal realization, and predictive accuracy
Keywords theories  pragmatism  predictive accuracy  goal realization
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DOI 10.1086/288616
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