Theory Choice and Social Choice: Okasha versus Sen

Mind 124 (493):263-277 (2015)
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A platitude that took hold with Kuhn is that there can be several equally good ways of balancing theoretical virtues for theory choice. Okasha recently modelled theory choice using technical apparatus from the domain of social choice: famously, Arrow showed that no method of social choice can jointly satisfy four desiderata, and each of the desiderata in social choice has an analogue in theory choice. Okasha suggested that one can avoid the Arrow analogue for theory choice by employing a strategy used by Sen in social choice, namely, to enhance the information made available to the choice algorithms. I argue here that, despite Okasha’s claims to the contrary, the information-enhancing strategy is not compelling in the domain of theory choice

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Jacob Stegenga
Cambridge University


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