Theory Choice and Social Choice: Kuhn versus Arrow

Mind 120 (477):83-115 (2011)
Abstract
Kuhn’s famous thesis that there is ‘no unique algorithm’ for choosing between rival scientific theories is analysed using the machinery of social choice theory. It is shown that the problem of theory choice as posed by Kuhn is formally identical to a standard social choice problem. This suggests that analogues of well-known results from the social choice literature, such as Arrow’s impossibility theorem, may apply to theory choice. If an analogue of Arrow’s theorem does hold for theory choice this would refute Kuhn’s thesis, but it would also pose a threat to the rationality of science, a threat that is if anything more worrying than that posed by Kuhn. Various possible ‘escape routes’ from Arrow’s impossibility result are examined, in particular Amartya Sen’s idea of ‘enriching the informational basis’. It is shown that Sen’s idea can be applied to the problem of theory choice in science. This in turn sheds light on two well-known approaches to inductive inference in philosophy of science: Bayesianism and statistical model selection
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/mind/fzr010
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,300
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Theory-Laden Experimentation.Samuel Schindler - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (1):89-101.

View all 12 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Teaching Arrow's Theorem.Greg Fried - 2010 - Teaching Philosophy 33 (2):173-186.
Social Choice and Individual Capabilities.Mozaffar Qizilbash - 2007 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 6 (2):169-192.
The Problem of Rational Theory-Choice.Howard Sankey - 1995 - Epistemologia 18 (2):299-312.
The Possibility of Self-Government.Colin Bird - 2000 - American Political Science Review 94 (3):563-577.
Experimentation Versus Theory Choice: A Social-Epistemological Approach.Marcel Weber - 2011 - In Hans Bernhard Schmid, Daniel Sirtes & Marcel Weber (eds.), Collective Epistemology. Ontos. pp. 20--203.
Social Choice Theory and Deliberative Democracy: A Reconciliation.Christian List & John Dryzek - 2003 - British Journal of Political Science 33 (1):1-28.
Justifying Feminist Social Science.Linda Alcoff - 1987 - Hypatia 2 (3):107 - 127.
Rational Choice Theory as Social Physics.James Bernard Murphy - 1995 - Critical Review 9 (1-2):155-174.
Added to PP index
2011-04-01

Total downloads
141 ( #34,795 of 2,193,091 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #21,313 of 2,193,091 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature