Simplicity

PhilSci Archive (2000)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
There are two problems of simplicity. What does it mean to characterize a scientific theory as simple, unified or explanatory in view of the fact that a simple theory can always be made complex (and vice versa) by a change of terminology? How is preference in science for simple theories to be justified? In this paper I put forward a proposal as to how the first problem is to be solved. The more nearly the totality of fundamental physical theory exemplifies the metaphysical thesis that the universe has a unified dynamic structure, so the simpler that totality of theory is. What matters is content, not form. This proposed solution may appear to be circular, but I argue that it is not. Towards the end of the paper I make a few remarks about the second, justificational problem of simplicity.
Reprint years
2001
PhilPapers/Archive ID
MAXS
Upload history
Archival date: 2011-01-01
View other versions
Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
370 ( #16,526 of 60,983 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
15 ( #39,511 of 60,983 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.