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Objectivity, Ambiguity, and Theory Choice

Marcoci, Alexandru and Nguyen, James (2017) Objectivity, Ambiguity, and Theory Choice. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Kuhn argued that scientific theory choice is, in some sense, a rational matter, but one that is not fully determined by shared objective scientific virtues like accuracy, simplicity, and scope. Okasha imports Arrow’s impossibility theorem into the context of theory choice to show that rather than not fully determining theory choice, these virtues cannot determine it at all. If Okasha is right, then there is no function (satisfying certain desirable conditions) from ‘preference’ rankings supplied by scientific virtues over competing theories (or models, or hypotheses) to a single all-things-considered ranking. This threatens the rationality of science. In this paper we show that if Kuhn’s claims about the role that subjective elements play in theory choice are taken seriously, then the threat dissolves.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Marcoci, Alexandrua.marcoci@lse.ac.uk
Nguyen, Jamesjnguyen4@nd.edu
Additional Information: Forthcoming in Erkenntnis
Keywords: Theory choice, scientific rationality, ambiguity, Kuhn, Okasha
Subjects: General Issues > Decision Theory
General Issues > Theory Change
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: James Nguyen
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2017 19:04
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2017 19:04
Item ID: 14168
Subjects: General Issues > Decision Theory
General Issues > Theory Change
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: 4 December 2017
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14168

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