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

Mohammadian, Mousa (2020) Theoretical Virtues and Theorizing in Physics: Against the Instrumentalist View of Simplicity. [Preprint]

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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: Preprint
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: 20 Dec 2020 04:11
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2020 04:11
Item ID: 18528
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: 19 December 2020
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18528

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