Quantitative parsimony

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (3):329-343 (1997)
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Abstract

In this paper, I motivate the view that quantitative parsimony is a theoretical virtue: that is, we should be concerned not only to minimize the number of kinds of entities postulated by our theories (i. e. maximize qualitative parsimony), but we should also minimize the number of entities postulated which fall under those kinds. In order to motivate this view, I consider two cases from the history of science: the postulation of the neutrino and the proposal of Avogadro's hypothesis. I also consider two issues concerning how a principle of quantitative parsimony should be framed.

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Daniel Nolan
University of Notre Dame

Citations of this work

The Tools of Metaphysics and the Metaphysics of Science.Theodore Sider - 2020 - Oxford, England and New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
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Against Parthood.Theodore Sider - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 8:237–293.
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References found in this work

Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes.Imre Lakatos - 1970 - In Imre Lakatos & Alan Musgrave (eds.), Criticism and the growth of knowledge. Cambridge [Eng.]: Cambridge University Press. pp. 91-196.
The metaphysics of properties.Alex Oliver - 1996 - Mind 105 (417):1-80.
The principle of parsimony.Elliott Sober - 1981 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 32 (2):145-156.
The myth of occam's razor.W. M. Thorburn - 1918 - Mind 27 (107):345-353.
Ockham’s razor.J. J. C. Smart - 1984 - In James H. Fetzer (ed.), Principles of philosophical reasoning. Totowa, N.J.: Rowman & Allanheld. pp. 118--28.

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