Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
SpeculationWithin and About Science$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Peter Achinstein

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190615055

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190615055.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 27 May 2022

The Complex Story of Simplicity

The Complex Story of Simplicity

Ontological and Epistemic Speculations

Chapter:
(p.68) 2 The Complex Story of Simplicity
Source:
Speculation
Author(s):

Peter Achinstein

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190615055.003.0002

Both Newton and Einstein claim that nature is simple and that simplicity is an epistemic guide to truth. This chapter examines various arguments for these claims, including that, historically, simpler theories have been more empirically successful than complex ones; that the epistemic value of simplicity can be demonstrated by appeal to Bayes’s probability theorem; and that simpler strategies for changing one’s beliefs in the light of new evidence can be shown to be more successful than complex ones. It is concluded that none of these arguments shows that nature is simple or that simplicity is an epistemic virtue.

Keywords:   Bayes’s theorem, Einstein, epistemic, Newton, simplicity

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .