Authors
Daniel Nolan
University of Notre Dame
Abstract
Many people want to hold that some theoretical virtues—simplicity, elegance, familiarity or others—are only pragmatic virtues. That is, these features do not give us any more reason to think a theory is true, or close to true, but they justify choosing one theoretical option over another because they are desirable for some other, practical purpose. Using pragmatic virtues in theory choice apparently brings with it a dilemma: if we are deciding what to accept on the basis of considerations that are not truth-conducive, it looks like we should either refrain from believing what we accept, and adopt some sort of instrumentalist attitude to the theories we cherish; or alternatively, we stand charged with engaging in theoretical irrationality in our belief formation. This paper discusses the appropriate response to this dilemma
Keywords theoretical virtues  instrumentalism  theory choice  theoretical rationality
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DOI 10.1080/0020174x.2014.967806
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References found in this work BETA

Epistemic Permissiveness.Roger White - 2005 - Philosophical Perspectives 19 (1):445–459.
Subjective Probabilities Should Be Sharp.Adam Elga - 2010 - Philosophers' Imprint 10.
Evidential Symmetry and Mushy Credence.Roger White - 2009 - In T. Szabo Gendler & J. Hawthorne (eds.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 161-186.
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Citations of this work BETA

Permissivism, Underdetermination, and Evidence.Elizabeth Jackson & Margaret Greta Turnbull - forthcoming - In Clayton Littlejohn & Maria Lasonen-Aarnio (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Evidence. New York: Routledge. pp. 1-13.

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