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Synthese

, Volume 191, Issue 10, pp 2147–2165 | Cite as

Implicit commitment in theory choice

  • Stephan Krämer
Original Paper

Abstract

The proper evaluation of a theory’s virtues seems to require taking into account what the theory is indirectly or implicitly committed to, in addition to what it explicitly says. Most extant proposals for criteria of theory choice in the literature spell out the relevant notion of implicit commitment via some notion of entailment. I show that such criteria behave implausibly in application to theories that differ over matters of entailment. A recent defence by Howard Peacock of such a criterion against this objection is examined and rejected. I go on to a develop a better proposal on which, roughly speaking, a theory is counted committed to a claim if and only if its best fully explicit extension is explicitly committed to the claim. Such extensions in turn are evaluated by ordinary standards of theory choice adapted to the case of theories assumed to articulate their intended content in a fully explicit fashion.

Keywords

Commitment Theory choice Entailment Incomparability  Logical disagreement 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The earliest predecessor to this paper was written just over five years ago. Very many people provided very valuable feedback, criticism, and encouragement over the various stages of development the paper has since undergone. I thank all of them, and especially John Divers, Joseph Melia, Howard Peacock, Benjamin Schnieder, Moritz Schulz, Jason Turner, Robbie Williams, as well as three anonymous referees.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany

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