, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 169-172
Date: 09 Mar 2012

On the evolution of criteria of theory choice

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Since Kuhn, it has become commonplace to think of the rationality of science in terms of criteria of theory choice. In determining which of competing theories or paradigms to adopt, scientists appeal to a range of standards or norms that must be satisfied for the theory or paradigm to be acceptable on a rational basis. The decision is not algorithmic. It is a deliberative judgement that weighs up and balances criteria against each other. Accuracy, consistency, breadth, simplicity and fruitfulness were the criteria that Kuhn nominated.

But where do the criteria of theory choice come from? This is the central question investigated by Anastasios Brenner in this fascinating study of criteria of theory choice. The criteria are not fixed and eternal, but are instead the result of a process of evolution. Brenner’s book brings a historical perspective to bear on the development of the criteria, which until now has been lacking.

After an Introduction that characterizes criteria of theory choice a ...