Synthese 195 (6):2761-2793 (2018)

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Abstract
There are at least twelve major virtues of good theories: evidential accuracy, causal adequacy, explanatory depth, internal consistency, internal coherence, universal coherence, beauty, simplicity, unification, durability, fruitfulness, and applicability. These virtues are best classified into four classes: evidential, coherential, aesthetic, and diachronic. Each virtue class contains at least three virtues that sequentially follow a repeating pattern of progressive disclosure and expansion. Systematizing the theoretical virtues in this manner clarifies each virtue and suggests how they might have a coordinated and cumulative role in theory formation and evaluation across the disciplines—with allowance for discipline specific modification. An informal and flexible logic of theory choice is in the making here. Evidential accuracy, according to my systematization, is not a largely isolated trait of good theories, as some have made it out to be. Rather, it bears multifaceted relationships, constituting significant epistemic entanglements, with other theoretical virtues.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-017-1355-6
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References found in this work BETA

Explanatory Unification.Philip Kitcher - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (4):507-531.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):421-423.
The Best Explanation: Criteria for Theory Choice.Paul R. Thagard - 1978 - Journal of Philosophy 75 (2):76-92.
Robustness Analysis.Michael Weisberg - 2006 - Philosophy of Science 73 (5):730-742.

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Citations of this work BETA

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What Ought a Fruitful Explicatum to Be?Mark Pinder - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (2):913-932.

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