Simplicity as a criterion of theory choice in metaphysics

Andrew Brenner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Metaphysicians frequently appeal to the idea that theoretical simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics, in the sense that, all other things being equal, simpler metaphysical theories are more likely to be true. In this paper I defend the notion that theoretical simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics, against several recent objections. I do not give any direct arguments for the thesis that simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics, since I am aware of no such arguments. I do argue, however, that there is no special problem with the notion that simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics. More specifically, I argue that if you accept the idea that simplicity is truth conducive in science, then it would be objectionably arbitrary to reject the idea that simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2687–2707
Number of pages21
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Volume174
Issue number11
Early online date19 Oct 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes

User-Defined Keywords

  • Metaphysics
  • Metametaphysics
  • Methodology
  • Simplicity
  • Theoretical simplicity

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