Mr. Fit, Mr. Simplicity and Mr. Scope: From Social Choice to Theory Choice

Erkenntnis 79 (Suppl 6):1253-1268 (2013)
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An analogue of Arrow’s theorem has been thought to limit the possibilities for multi-criterial theory choice. Here, an example drawn from Toy Science, a model of theories and choice criteria, suggests that it does not. Arrow’s assumption that domains are unrestricted is inappropriate in connection with theory choice in Toy Science. There are, however, variants of Arrow’s theorem that do not require an unrestricted domain. They require instead that domains are, in a technical sense, ‘rich’. Since there are rich domains in Toy Science, such theorems do constrain theory choice to some extent—certainly in the model and perhaps also in real science.

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Michael Morreau
University of Tromsø


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