Results for 'Parsimony'

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  1. Ideological Parsimony.Sam Cowling - 2013 - Synthese 190 (17):3889-3908.
    The theoretical virtue of parsimony values the minimizing of theoretical commitments, but theoretical commitments come in two kinds : ontological and ideological. While the ontological commitments of a theory are the entities it posits, a theory’s ideological commitments are the primitive concepts it employs. Here, I show how we can extend the distinction between quantitative and qualitative parsimony, commonly drawn regarding ontological commitments, to the domain of ideological commitments. I then argue that qualitative ideological parsimony is a (...)
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  2. When is Parsimony a Virtue?Michael Huemer - 2009 - Philosophical Quarterly 59 (235):216-236.
    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 (...)
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  3. Quantitative Parsimony and Explanatory Power.Alan Baker - 2003 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (2):245-259.
    The desire to minimize the number of individual new entities postulated is often referred to as quantitative parsimony. Its influence on the default hypotheses formulated by scientists seems undeniable. I argue that there is a wide class of cases for which the preference for quantitatively parsimonious hypotheses is demonstrably rational. The justification, in a nutshell, is that such hypotheses have greater explanatory power than less parsimonious alternatives. My analysis is restricted to a class of cases I shall refer to (...)
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  4. Parsimony and the Argument From Queerness.Justin Morton & Eric Sampson - 2014 - Res Philosophica 91 (4):609-627.
    In his recent book Error Theory: History, Critique, Defence, Jonas Olson attempts to revive the argument from queerness originally made famous by J.L. Mackie. In this paper, we do three things. First, we eliminate four untenable formulations of the argument. Second, we argue that the most plausible formulation is one that depends crucially upon considerations of parsimony. Finally, we evaluate this formulation of the argument. We conclude that it is unproblematic for proponents of moral non-naturalism—the target of the argument (...)
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  5. Quantitative Parsimony.Daniel Nolan - 1997 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (3):329-343.
    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 (...)
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  6.  47
    Acquaintance, Parsimony, and Epiphenomenalism.Brie Gertler - forthcoming - In Sam Coleman (ed.), The Knowledge Argument Then and Now. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Some physicalists (Balog 2012, Howell 2013), and most dualists, endorse the acquaintance response to the Knowledge Argument. This is the claim that Mary gains substantial new knowledge, upon leaving the room, because phenomenal knowledge requires direct acquaintance with phenomenal properties. The acquaintance response is an especially promising way to make sense of the Mary case. I argue that it casts doubt on two claims often made on behalf of physicalism, regarding parsimony and mental causation. I show that those who (...)
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  7.  89
    Cladistic Parsimony, Historical Linguistics and Cultural Phylogenetics.Frank Cabrera - 2017 - Mind and Language 32 (1):65-100.
    Here, I consider the recent application of phylogenetic methods in historical linguistics. After a preliminary survey of one such method, i.e. cladistic parsimony, I respond to two common criticisms of cultural phylogenies: that cultural artifacts cannot be modeled as tree-like because of borrowing across lineages, and that the mechanism of cultural change differs radically from that of biological evolution. I argue that while perhaps remains true for certain cultural artifacts, the nature of language may be such as to side-step (...)
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  8.  47
    Enthymematic Parsimony.Fabio Paglieri & John Woods - 2011 - Synthese 178 (3):461 - 501.
    Enthymemes are traditionally defined as arguments in which some elements are left unstated. It is an empirical fact that enthymemes are both enormously frequent and appropriately understood in everyday argumentation. Why is it so? We outline an answer that dispenses with the so called "principle of charity", which is the standard notion underlying most works on enthymemes. In contrast, we suggest that a different force drives enthymematic argumentation—namely, parsimony, i.e. the tendency to optimize resource consumption, in light of the (...)
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  9.  32
    Retributive Parsimony.Richard L. Lippke - 2009 - Res Publica 15 (4):377-395.
    Retributive approaches to the justification of legal punishment are often thought to place exacting and unattractive demands on state officials, requiring them to expend scarce public resources on apprehending and punishing all offenders strictly in accordance with their criminal ill deserts. Against this caricature of the theory, I argue that retributivists can urge parsimony in the use of punishment. After clarifying what parsimony consists in, I show how retributivists can urge reductions in the use of punishment in order (...)
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  10.  92
    Does a Parsimony Principle Entail a Simple World?Craig DeLancey - 2011 - Metaphysica 12 (2):87-100.
    Many scholars claim that a parsimony principle has ontological implications. The most common such claim is that a parsimony principle entails that the “world” is simple. This ontological claim appears to often be coupled with the assumption that a parsimony principle would be corroborated if the “world” were simple. I clarify these claims, describe some minimal features of simplicity, and then show that both these claims are either false or they depend upon an implausible notion of simplicity. (...)
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  11.  9
    Ontological Parsimony, Erosion, and Conservatism.Thomas Metcalf - 2016 - Metaphilosophy 47 (4-5):700-718.
    This article presents a novel argument against a common principle of parsimony in philosophy. First, it identifies a widely employed principle of positive ontological parsimony, according to which we should, ceteris paribus, prefer smaller ontologies to larger ontologies. Next, it shows how this principle is used as part of a strategy by which to argue for antirealist positions in many subfields of philosophy: the ockhamistic antirealist strategy. Third, it argues that this principle commits its adherents to an implausible (...)
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  12.  20
    Quantitative Parsimony, Explanatory Power and Dark Matter.William L. Vanderburgh - 2014 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 45 (2):317-327.
    Baker argues that quantitative parsimony—the principle that hypotheses requiring fewer entities are to be preferred over their empirically equivalent rivals—is a rational methodological criterion because it maximizes explanatory power. Baker lends plausibility to his account by confronting it with the example of postulating of the neutrino in order to resolve a discrepancy in Beta decay experiments. Baker’s account is initially attractive, but I argue that its details are problematic and that it yields undesirable consequences when applied to the case (...)
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  13.  70
    Parsimony and Inference to the Best Mathematical Explanation.Alan Baker - 2016 - Synthese 193 (2).
    Indispensability-based arguments for mathematical platonism are typically motivated by drawing an analogy between abstract mathematical objects and concrete scientific posits. In this paper, I argue that mathematics can sometimes help to reduce our concrete ontological, ideological, and structural commitments. My focus is on optimization explanations, and in particular the case study involving periodical cicadas. I argue that in this case, stronger mathematical apparatus yields explanations that have fewer concrete commitments. The nominalist cannot accept these more parsimonious explanations without embracing the (...)
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  14. Quantitative Parsimony: Probably for the Better.Lina Jansson & Jonathan Tallant - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv064.
    ABSTRACT Our aim in this article is to offer a new justification for preferring theories that are more quantitatively parsimonious than their rivals. We discuss cases where it seems clear that those involved opted for more quantitatively parsimonious theories. We extend previous work on quantitative parsimony by offering an independent probabilistic justification for preferring the more quantitatively parsimonious theories in particular episodes of theory choice. Our strategy allows us to avoid worries that other considerations, such as pragmatic factors of (...)
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  15. Parsimony and the Fisher–Wright Debate.Plutynski Anya - 2005 - Biology and Philosophy 20 (4):697-713.
    In the past five years, there have been a series of papers in the journal Evolution debating the relative significance of two theories of evolution, a neo-Fisherian and a neo-Wrightian theory, where the neo-Fisherians make explicit appeal to parsimony. My aim in this paper is to determine how we can make sense of such an appeal. One interpretation of parsimony takes it that a theory that contains fewer entities or processes, (however we demarcate these) is more parsimonious. On (...)
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  16.  94
    Parsimony Arguments in Science and Philosophy—A Test Case for Naturalism P.Elliott Sober - 2009 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 83 (2):117 - 155.
    Parsimony arguments are advanced in both science and philosophy. How are they related? This question is a test case for Naturalismp, which is the thesis that philosophical theories and scientific theories should be evaluated by the same criteria. In this paper, I describe the justifications that attach to two types of parsimony argument in science. In the first, parsimony is a surrogate for likelihood. In the second, parsimony is relevant to estimating how accurately a model will (...)
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  17.  78
    The Ontological Parsimony of Mereology.Jeroen Smid - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (12):3253-3271.
    Lewis famously argued that mereology is ontologically innocent. Many who have considered this claim believe he was mistaken. Mereology is not innocent, because its acceptance entails the acceptance of sums, new objects that were not previously part of one’s ontology. This argument, the argument from ontological parsimony, has two versions: a qualitative and a quantitative one. I argue that the defender of mereology can neutralize both arguments by holding that, given mereology, a commitment to the parts of an object (...)
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  18. Instrumentalism, Parsimony, and the Akaike Framework.Elliott Sober - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S112-S123.
    Akaike’s framework for thinking about model selection in terms of the goal of predictive accuracy and his criterion for model selection have important philosophical implications. Scientists often test models whose truth values they already know, and they often decline to reject models that they know full well are false. Instrumentalism helps explain this pervasive feature of scientific practice, and Akaike’s framework helps provide instrumentalism with the epistemology it needs. Akaike’s criterion for model selection also throws light on the role of (...)
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  19.  28
    Inductive Parsimony and the Methodological Argument.Carolyn Suchy-Dicey - 2012 - Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2):605-609.
    Studies on so-called Change Blindness and Inattentional Blindness have been taken to establish the claim that conscious perception of a stimulus requires the attentional processing of that stimulus. One might contend, against this claim, that the evidence only shows attention to be necessary for the subject to have access to the contents of conscious perception and not for conscious perception itself. This “Methodological Argument” is gaining ground among philosophers who work on attention and consciousness, such as Christopher Mole. I find (...)
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  20.  72
    Modified Occam's Razor: Parsimony, Pragmatics, and the Acquisition of Word Meaning.Thomas D. Bontly - 2005 - Mind and Language 20 (3):288–312.
    Advocates of linguistic pragmatics often appeal to a principle which Paul Grice called Modified Occam's Razor: 'Senses are not to be multiplied beyond necessity'. Superficially, Grice's principle seems a routine application of the principle of parsimony ('Entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity'). But parsimony arguments, though common in science, are notoriously problematic, and their use by Griceans faces numerous objections. This paper argues that Modified Occam's Razor makes considerably more sense in light of certain assumptions about (...)
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  21.  5
    No More Charity, Please! Enthymematic Parsimony and the Pitfall of Benevolence.Fabio Paglieri - 2007 - In Christopher W. Tindale Hans V. Hansen (ed.), Dissensus and the Search for Common Ground. Ossa. pp. 1--26.
    Why are enthymemes so frequent? Are we dumb arguers, smart rhetoricians, or parsimonious reasoners? This paper investigates systematic use of enthymemes, criticizing the application of the principle of charity to their interpretation. In contrast, I propose to analyze enthymematic argumentation in terms of parsimony, i.e. as a manifestation of the rational tendency to economize over scant resources. Consequences of this view on the current debate on enthymemes and on their rational reconstruction are discussed.
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  22.  65
    Kuhnian Values and Cladistic Parsimony.Richard C. Richards - 2002 - Perspectives on Science 10 (1):1-27.
    : According to Kuhn, theory choice is not governed by algorithms, but by values, which influence yet do not determine theory choice. Cladistic hypotheses, however, seem to be evaluated relative to a parsimony algorithm, which asserts that the best phylogenetic hypothesis is the one that requires the fewest character changes. While this seems to be an unequivocal evaluative rule, it is not. The application of the parsimony principle is ultimately indeterminate because the choice and individuation of characters that (...)
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  23.  75
    Parsimony Hierarchies for Inductive Inference.Andris Ambainis, John Case, Sanjay Jain & Mandayam Suraj - 2004 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 69 (1):287-327.
    Freivalds defined an acceptable programming system independent criterion for learning programs for functions in which the final programs were required to be both correct and "nearly" minimal size, i.e., within a computable function of being purely minimal size. Kinber showed that this parsimony requirement on final programs limits learning power. However, in scientific inference, parsimony is considered highly desirable. A lim-computablefunction is (by definition) one calculable by a total procedure allowed to change its mind finitely many times about (...)
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  24. Instrumentalism, Parsimony, and the Akaike Framework.Elliott Sober - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (S3):S112-S123.
    Akaike’s framework for thinking about model selection in terms of the goal of predictive accuracy and his criterion for model selection have important philosophical implications. Scientists often test models whose truth values they already know, and they often decline to reject models that they know full well are false. Instrumentalism helps explain this pervasive feature of scientific practice, and Akaike’s framework helps provide instrumentalism with the epistemology it needs. Akaike’s criterion for model selection also throws light on the role of (...)
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  25.  59
    Parsimony and Predictive Equivalence.Elliott Sober - 1996 - Erkenntnis 44 (2):167 - 197.
    If a parsimony criterion may be used to choose between theories that make different predictions, may the same criterion be used to choose between theories that are predictively equivalent? The work of the statistician H. Akaike (1973) is discussed in connection with this question. The results are applied to two examples in which parsimony has been invoked to choose between philosophical theories-Shoemaker's (1969) discussion of the possibility of time without change and the discussion by Smart (1959) and Brandt (...)
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  26.  32
    Parsimony, Likelihood, and the Principle of the Common Cause.Elliott Sober - 1987 - Philosophy of Science 54 (3):465-469.
    The likelihood justification of cladistic parsimony suggested in Sober (1984) is here shown to be incomplete. Even so, cladistic parsimony remains a counter-example to the principle of the common cause formulated by Reichenbach (1956) and Salmon (1975, 1979, 1984).
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  27.  23
    Comments on “Parsimony and Inference to the Best Mathematical Explanation”.Fabrice Pataut - 2016 - Synthese 193 (2):351-363.
    The author of “Parsimony and inference to the best mathematical explanation” argues for platonism by way of an enhanced indispensability argument based on an inference to yet better mathematical optimization explanations in the natural sciences. Since such explanations yield beneficial trade-offs between stronger mathematical existential claims and fewer concrete ontological commitments than those involved in merely good mathematical explanations, one must countenance the mathematical objects that play a theoretical role in them via an application of the relevant mathematical results. (...)
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  28.  8
    Philosophy and Phylogenetic Inference: A Comparison of Likelihood and Parsimony Methods in the Context of Karl Popper's Writings on Corroboration.Kevin de Queiroz & Steven Poe - 2001 - Systematic Biology 50 (3):305-321.
    Advocates of cladistic parsimony methods have invoked the philosophy of Karl Popper in an attempt to argue for the superiority of those methods over phylogenetic methods based on Ronald Fisher's statistical principle of likelihood. We argue that the concept of likelihood in general, and its application to problems of phylogenetic inference in particular, are highly compatible with Popper's philosophy. Examination of Popper's writings reveals that his concept of corroboration is, in fact, based on likelihood. Moreover, because probabilistic assumptions are (...)
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  29.  10
    Rightness, Parsimony, and Consequentialism: A Response to Peterson.Roger Crisp - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (1):39-47.
    This paper argues against Martin Peterson in favour of the ‘standard view’ of rightness, according to which rightness does not come in degrees. It begins with a defence of the standard view against the charge that it is committed to ‘deontic leaps’. It goes on to claim that greater conceptual parsimony would allow Peterson to avoid certain problems involving equality and related matters that arise out of his conception of moral value, and that Peterson should take the same instrumentalist (...)
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  30.  4
    The Varieties of Parsimony in Psychology.Mike Dacey - 2016 - Mind and Language 31 (4):414-437.
    Philosophers and psychologists make many different, seemingly incompatible parsimony claims in support of competing models of cognition in nonhuman animals. This variety of parsimony claims is problematic. Firstly, it is difficult to justify each specific variety. This problem is especially salient for Morgan's Canon, perhaps the most important variety of parsimony claimed. Secondly, there is no systematic way of adjudicating between particular claims when they conflict. I argue for a view of parsimony in comparative psychology that (...)
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  31.  13
    Parsimony for Empty Space.Roy Sorensen - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (2):1-16.
    Ockham's razor is popularly phrased as a prohibition against multiplying entities beyond necessity. This prohibition should extend to the receptacle for these entities. To state my thesis more positively and precisely, both qualitative and quantitative parsimony apply to space, time, and possibility. All other things equal, we ought to prefer a hypothesis that postulates less space. Smaller is better. Admittedly, scientists are ambivalent about economizing on the void. They praise simplicity. Yet astronomers have a history of helping themselves to (...)
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  32.  6
    Parsimony and the Triple-System Model of Concepts.Safa Zaki & Joe Cruz - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):230-231.
    Machery's dismissive position on parsimony requires that we examine especially carefully the data he provides as evidence for his complex triple-system account. We use the prototype-exemplar debate as an example of empirical findings which may not, in fact, support a multiple-systems account. We discuss the importance of considering complexity in scientific theory.
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  33.  1
    Modified Occam's Razor: Parsimony, Pragmatics, and the Acquisition of Word Meaning.D. Bontly Thomas - 2005 - Mind and Language 20 (3):288-312.
    : Advocates of linguistic pragmatics often appeal to a principle which Paul Grice called Modified Occam's Razor: ‘Senses are not to be multiplied beyond necessity’. Superficially, Grice's principle seems a routine application of the principle of parsimony. But parsimony arguments, though common in science, are notoriously problematic, and their use by Griceans faces numerous objections. This paper argues that Modified Occam's Razor makes considerably more sense in light of certain assumptions about the processes involved in language acquisition, and (...)
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  34.  1
    Prolifigacy, Parsimony, and the Ethics of Expenditure in the Philosophy of Levinas.Edith Wyschogrod - 2010 - In Kevin Hart & Michael Alan Signer (eds.), The Exorbitant: Emmanuel Levinas Between Jews and Christians. Fordham University Press.
    This chapter begins by taking into account alternative views of the ethical subject in Levinas's thought by turning first to its emergence following the coming into being of an autonomous self, depicted principally in the opening sections of Totality and Infinity; and next to its meaning in the context of time and language, as described in his essay “Substitution.” This view is further developed in his major work Otherwise than Being, or Beyond Essence. The chapter then considers the works of (...)
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  35.  14
    Reconstructing the Past: Parsimony, Evolution, and Inference. [REVIEW]James R. Griesemer & H. Bradley Shaffer - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101 (3):725-729.
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  36.  72
    Quantitative Parsimony and the Metaphysics of Time: Motivating Presentism.Jonathan Tallant - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (3):688-705.
    In this paper I argue that presentism —the view that only present objects exist—can be motivated, at least to some degree, by virtue of the fact that it is more quantitatively parsimonious than rival views.
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  37. Reconstructing The Past: Parsimony, Evolution, and Inference.Elliott Sober - 1988 - MIT Press.
  38.  17
    Parsimony and Models of Animal Minds.Elliott Sober - 2009 - In Robert W. Lurz (ed.), The Philosophy of Animal Minds. Cambridge University Press. pp. 237.
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  39.  3
    The Paradox of Parsimony in Motivated Distance Perception.Justin Storbeck - 2016 - Emotion Review 8 (2):130-132.
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  40.  66
    The Contest Between Parsimony and Likelihood.Elliott Sober - manuscript
    Philosophy Department, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA; E-mail: esober@stanford.edu; and Philosophy Department, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA; E-mail: ersober@wisc.edu..
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  41.  23
    Anthropomorphism, Parsimony, and Common Ancestry.Elliott Sober - 2012 - Mind and Language 27 (3):229-238.
    I consider three theses that are friendly to anthropomorphism. Each makes a claim about what can be inferred about the mental life of chimpanzees from the fact that humans and chimpanzees both have behavioral trait B and humans produce this behavior by having mental trait M. The first thesis asserts that this fact makes it probable that chimpanzees have M. The second says that this fact provides strong evidence that chimpanzees have M. The third claims that the fact is evidence (...)
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  42.  99
    The Principle of Parsimony.Elliott Sober - 1981 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 32 (2):145-156.
  43.  14
    Pride in Parsimony.Lisa A. Williams & David DeSteno - 2010 - Emotion Review 2 (2):180-181.
    Tracy, Shariff, and Cheng (2010) present a timely and eloquent review of the current research on the emotion pride in terms of a naturalist framework. The present commentary not only echoes arguments relating to pride’s adaptive function, but also highlights some points of theoretical clarification. Specifically, we question the necessity of the naturalist approach and the emphasis on two facets of pride.
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  44.  7
    Comment: The Paradox of Parsimony in Motivated Distance Perception.J. Storbeck - 2016 - Emotion Review 8 (2).
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  45. Pinnipeds, Porpoises and Parsimony: Animal Language Research Viewed From a Bottom-Up Perspective.Ronald J. Schusterman & R. Gisiner - 1997 - In R. Mitchell, Nicholas S. Thompson & H. L. Miles (eds.), Anthropomorphism, Anecdotes, and Animals. Suny Press. pp. 370--382.
     
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  46.  46
    Against Parsimony: Three Easy Ways of Complicating Some Categories of Economic Discourse.Albert O. Hirschman - 1985 - Economics and Philosophy 1 (1):7-21.
    Economics as a science of human behavior has been grounded in a remarkably parsimonious postulate: that of the self-interested, isolated individual who chooses freely and rationally between alternative courses of action after computing their prospective costs and benefits. In recent decades, a group of economists has shown considerable industry and ingenuity in applying this way of interpreting the social world to a series of ostensibly noneconomic phenomena, from crime to the family, and from collective action to democracy. The “economic” or (...)
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  47.  37
    Parsimony, Likelihood, and Instrumentalism in Systematics.Olivier Rieppel - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (1):141-144.
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  48.  44
    Reconstructing the Character States of Ancestors: A Likelihood Perspective on Cladistic Parsimony.Elliott Sober - 2002 - The Monist 85 (1):156 - 176.
  49. Ability, Breadth, and Parsimony in Computational Models of Higher-Order Cognition.Nicholas Cassimatis, Paul Bello & Pat Langley - 2008 - Cognitive Science 32 (8):1304-1322.
  50.  47
    Nominalism and the Law of Parsimony.C. K. Brampton - 1964 - Modern Schoolman 41 (3):273-281.
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