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MOND and Meta-Empirical Theory Assessment

De Baerdemaeker, Siska and Dawid, Richard (2022) MOND and Meta-Empirical Theory Assessment. [Preprint]

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Abstract

While ΛCDM has emerged as the standard model of cosmology, a small group of physicists defend Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND) as an alternative view on cosmology. Exponents of MOND have employed a broad, at times explicitly philosophical, conceptual perspective in arguing their case. This paper offers reasons why that MONDian defense has been ineffective. First, we argue that the defense is ineffective according to Popperian or Lakatosian views--ostensibly the preferred philosophical views on theory assessment of proponents of MOND. Second, we argue that the defense of MOND can instead best be reconstructed as an instance of meta-empirical theory assessment. The formal employment of meta-empirical assessment by MONDians is unconvincing, however, because it lacks a sufficient epistemic foundation. Specifically, the MONDian No Alternatives Argument relies on falsifiability or explanation conditions that lack epistemic relevance, while the argument from Unexpected Explanatory Success fails since there is a known alternative to MOND. In the last part of the paper, we draw some lessons for applications of meta-empirical assessment more generally.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
De Baerdemaeker, Siskasiska.debaerdemaeker@philosophy.su.se
Dawid, Richardrichard.dawid@philosophy.su.se0000-0002-1472-2958
Keywords: Meta-empirical theory assessment, dark matter, MOND, Popper, Lakatos
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Astrophysics
General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
General Issues > Science vs. Pseudoscience
Depositing User: Ms Siska De Baerdemaeker
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2022 14:38
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2022 14:38
Item ID: 21038
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Astrophysics
General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
General Issues > Science vs. Pseudoscience
Date: 18 July 2022
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21038

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