When is parsimony a virtue?

Philosophical Quarterly 59 (235):216-236 (2009)
Abstract
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 has no evidential value.
Keywords parsimony  simplicity  occam's razor
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9213.2008.569.x
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References found in this work BETA
New Work for a Theory of Universals.David Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
Sensations and Brain Processes.J. J. C. Smart - 1959 - Philosophical Review 68 (April):141-56.
Supervenience and Microphysics.Terence E. Horgan - 1982 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 63 (January):29-43.
Quantitative Parsimony.Daniel Nolan - 1997 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (3):329-343.

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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.
Mereological Nihilism and Theoretical Unification.Andrew Brenner - 2015 - Analytic Philosophy 56 (4):318-337.
I—The Presidential AddressPhilosophical Scepticism and the Aims of Philosophy.Helen Beebee - 2018 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 118 (1):1-24.
Simplicity as a Criterion of Theory Choice in Metaphysics.Andrew Brenner - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2687-2707.

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