Quantitative Parsimony

  title={Quantitative Parsimony},
  author={Daniel Nolan},
  journal={The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science},
  pages={329 - 343}
  • Daniel Nolan
  • Published 1 September 1997
  • Philosophy
  • The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
In this paper, I motivate the view that quantitative parsimony is a theoretical virtue: that is, we should be concerned not only to minimize the number of kinds of entities postulated by our theories (i. e. maximize qualitative parsimony), but we should also minimize the number of entities postulated which fall under those kinds. In order to motivate this view, I consider two cases from the history of science: the postulation of the neutrino and the proposal of Avogadro's hypothesis. I also… 
A Puzzle About Parsimony
  • Philosophy
  • 2019
In this paper, I argue for the instability of an increasingly popular position about how metaphysicians ought to regard parsimony. This instability is rooted in an unrecognized tension between two
Quantitative Parsimony and Explanatory Power
  • A. Baker
  • Biology
    The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
  • 2003
It is argued that there is a wide class of cases for which the preference for quantitatively parsimonious hypotheses is demonstrably rational, and that such hypotheses have greater explanatory power than less parsimoniously alternatives.
Quantitative Parsimony: Probably for the Better
An independent probabilistic justification for preferring the more quantitatively parsimonious theories in particular episodes of theory choice is offered to avoid worries that other considerations, such as pragmatic factors of computational tractability and so on, could be the driving ones in the historical cases under consideration.
Ideological parsimony
It is shown how the distinction between quantitative and qualitative parsimony can be extended to the domain of ideological commitments, and it is argued that qualitative ideological parsimony is a theoretical virtue.
Cliometric Metatheory: II. Criteria Scientists Use in Theory Appraisal and why it is Rational to do so
  • P. Meehl
  • Psychology
    Psychological reports
  • 2002
History of science shows that scientists use various theory characteristics such as aspects of parsimony, the number, qualitative diversity, novelty, and numerical precision of facts derived, number of misderived facts, and reducibility relations to other accepted theories.
The intrinsic probability of theism
Philosophy Compass. 2018;e12523. https://doi.org/10.1111/phc3.12523 Abstract In this paper, I explore one of the most important but least discussed components of an evidentialist case for or against
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When metaphysicians debate which among rival theories is most worthy of endorsement, they often utilize the virtue-driven methodology. According to this methodology, one theory is more worthy of
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Parsimony considerations are ubiquitous in the literature concerning the nature of mental states. Other things being equal, physicalist views are preferred over dualist accounts on the grounds of the
The Quest for Ontological Parsimony 1. the Use of Parsimony in Philosophy
  • Philosophy
Hereafter, I use " parsimony " and " ontological simplicity " interchangeably, to refer to the kind of simplicity that consists in limiting the number of (kinds of) things posited by a theory, where
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The technique of cost/benefit analysis is standard fare in contemporary ontology: we measure how a theory performs along a variety of dimensions (simplicity, coherence with intuitions etc.) and then


The Principle of Parsimony
  • E. Sober
  • Philosophy
    The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
  • 1981
The principle of parsimony has typically been described and defended as if it were a deletion rule, counseling agnosticism. Ockham, followed by those after him who liked the razor to which he gave
Invention and Appraisal
Salmon’s recognition that this factor plays an important role in the appraisal of the hypothesis has always seemed to me to be a valuable insight.
The Metaphysics of Properties
In the first of this series of articles Jerry Fodor set the scene for his discussion of mental representation: "It rained for weeks and we were all so tired of ontology, but there didn't seem to be
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For centuries knowledge meant proven knowledge — proven either by the power of the intellect or by the evidence of the senses. Wisdom and intellectual integrity demanded that one must desist from
The idea of the neutrino
During the 1920's physicists came to accept the view that matter is built of only two kinds of elementary particles, electrons and protons, which they often called “negative and positive electrons.”
Ockham's Razor
  • L. Lutter
  • Medicine, Computer Science
    Encyclopedia of Machine Learning and Data Mining
  • 1999
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