Authors
John R. Welch
Saint Louis University
Abstract
Theory choice can be approached in at least four ways. One of these calls for the application of decision theory, and this article endorses this approach. But applying standard forms of decision theory imposes an overly demanding standard of numeric information, supposedly satisfied by point-valued utility and probability functions. To ameliorate this difficulty, a version of decision theory that requires merely comparative utilities and plausibilities is proposed. After a brief summary of this alternative, the article illustrates how comparative decision theory affords a rational reconstruction of decisions made by exemplary scientists in two cases of theory choice: Buffon’s law and the luminiferous ether. It also offers a rational reconstruction of two cases of theory diagnosis: Mendeleev’s anomalies and the Pioneer anomaly.
Keywords theory choice  decision theory  probability  plausibility  utility  information
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Reprint years 2013
DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2013.04.004
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References found in this work BETA

Why Did Einstein's Programme Supersede Lorentz's? (I).Elie Zahar - 1973 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 24 (2):95-123.
A Mathematical Theory of Communication.Claude E. Shannon - 1948 - Bell System Technical Journal 27:379–423.

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Citations of this work BETA

Plausibilistic Coherence.John R. Welch - 2014 - Synthese 191 (10):2239-2253.
When Econs Are Human.John R. Welch - 2020 - Journal of Economic Methodology 27 (3):212-225.

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