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Theoretical Virtues and Theorizing in Physics: Against the Instrumentalist View of Simplicity

Mohammadian, Mousa (2021) Theoretical Virtues and Theorizing in Physics: Against the Instrumentalist View of Simplicity. Synthese, 199 (1). pp. 4819-4828. ISSN 1573-0964

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Abstract

I argue that if (a) simplicity is a theoretical virtue and (b) some theoretical virtues are the constituents of the aims of theorizing in physics—i.e., theory choice and theory development in physics—and (c) scientific rationality is instrumental rationality, then simplicity cannot be a mere means to achieve the aims. I do this by showing that considering simplicity as a mere means brings about counterintuitive ramifications concerning scientific rationality. These counterintuitive ramifications can be avoided if we consider simplicity a constituent of the aims of theorizing in physics.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Mohammadian, Mousammohamma@nd.edu0000-0002-2422-4979
Additional Information: This is a pre-print of a forthcoming article in Synthese Topical Collection “Simplicity out of Complexity? Physics and the Aims of Science.”
Keywords: simplicity, theoretical virtues, the aims of science, scientific rationality, instrumental rationality
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: Mousa Mohammadian
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2022 04:11
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2022 04:11
Item ID: 18579
Journal or Publication Title: Synthese
Publisher: Springer (Springer Science+Business Media B.V.)
Official URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11229-0...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-020-03004-4
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: 5 January 2021
Page Range: pp. 4819-4828
Volume: 199
Number: 1
ISSN: 1573-0964
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18579

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