Inconsistent theories as scientific objectives

Philosophy of Science 50 (3):453-470 (1983)
Theories are conceptualized as predictors of phenomena using computable functions acting on prior world information. Formally, the concept of bounded prior world recursive function is defined and used as a candidate for a potential theory. An artificial world of fact is then constructed for which there exist two inconsistent best theories, in that they cannot be improved upon, and these theories are maximally inconsistent in that every best theory is a compromise. It is argued that in such a world the scientific objective would be to find these maximally inconsistent theories. The construction is motivated as an attempt to illustrate the status of theory in the social sciences and in economics, in particular
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DOI 10.1086/289129
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