I published a monograph on Theoretical Virtues in Science: Uncovering Reality Through Theory, Cambridge University Press (2018). I also co-edited and contributed a chapter to a book on Linguistic Intuitions: evidence and method (OUP).
- “An impressive achievement” and “a source of new and provocative ideas” (Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews).
- “The book contains a wealth of interesting ideas and arguments” (The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science)
- “The book is clearly written, well-informed about both philosophy and history of science, and makes numerous incisive points.” (Metascience)
- On Linguistic Intuitions: “The chapters in this collection are of a consistently high standard and would richly reward any readers interested in the methodological and epistemological foundations of linguistics.” (Journal of Linguistics; see also here).
Abstract and ToC
This book offers an in-depth discussion of the features that characterize good scientific theories. Theoretical virtues, as these features are also called, include testability, empirical accuracy, consistency, unifying power, simplicity, and fertility. Theoretical virtues play an important role in theory-choice, as they guide scientists in their decisions to adopt certain theories and not others. Theoretical virtues are also important for what we choose to believe in: only if the theories we possess are good ones can we be confident that our theories’ claims about nature are actually correct. By means of historical cases studies, this book challenges parts of the received view of theoretical virtues and, based on a reconsidered view, advances arguments for the belief that science successfully uncovers reality through theory.
Table of contents:
1. Theoretical virtues, truth, and the argument from simplicity
2. Pessimism, base rates, and the no-virtue-coincidence argument
3. Novel success and predictivism
4. Theoretical fertility without novel success
5. Ad hoc hypotheses and the argument from coherence
6. Theoretical virtues as confidence boosters and the argument from choice
7. Philosophy of science by historical means
Epilogue: the demarcation problem
PowerPoint slides from my higher doctorate (Danish “Doktorat”) defense, summarizing the book and each chapter.