Theoretical Virtues in Science: Uncovering Reality through Theory
Cambridge University Press, 24. maj 2018
What are the features of a good scientific theory? Samuel Schindler's book revisits this classical question in the philosophy of science and develops new answers to it. Theoretical virtues matter not only for choosing theories 'to work with', but also for what we are justified in believing: only if the theories we possess are good ones (qua virtues) can we be confident that our theories' claims about nature are actually correct. Recent debates have focussed rather narrowly on a theory's capacity to predict new phenomena successfully, but Schindler argues that the justification for this focus is thin. He discusses several other theory properties such as testability, accuracy, and consistency, and highlights the importance of simplicity and coherence. Using detailed historical case studies and careful philosophical analysis, Schindler challenges the received view of theoretical virtues and advances arguments for the view that science uncovers reality through theory.
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Pessimism Base Rates and the NoVirtueCoincidence
Novel Success and Predictivism
Theoretical Fertility without Novel Success
Ad Hoc Hypotheses and the Argument from Coherence
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accommodate anomalies antirealist argued argument for realism assumptions atomic basis believe Bohr model Bohr–Sommerfeld model CCAH Chapter chemical elements coherence concept confirmation conflict thesis contrapredictions de-idealization demarcation problem discussion divide et impera Einstein’s theory electron elements emphasis added empirical accuracy empirical adequacy empirical success empirically accurate empirically adequate entities epistemic epistemic virtue evidence example explain fact false Fraassen GWS model Harker Higgs Higgs mechanism hoc hypotheses hoc judgements hydrogen hypothesis independent support intuitions Kuhn Kuhnian Lakatos Lakatos’s Laudan Lorentz M-fertility McMullin Mendeleev methodology Newtonian non–ad hoc norms novel success orbits overfitting paradigm particles periodic table phenomena philosophers philosophy of science physicists Popper postulates predictivism problem proposed Psillos Ptolemaic system rational rationale realism debate realist regard scientific theories scientists Section simplicity Sommerfeld testability theoretical virtues theory choice theory in question theory of relativity theory’s true truth unification use-novel van Fraassen virtuous argument Weinberg Worrall