PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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A Topological Explication of Empirical Simplicity

We present and motivate a new explication of empirical simplicity that avoids many of the problems with earlier accounts. The proposal is grounded in information topology, the topological space generated by the set of all possible information states inquiry might encounter. Our proposal is closely related to Popper’s, but we show that it improves upon his in at least two respects: maximal simplicity is equivalent to refutability and stronger hypotheses are not simpler. Finally, we explain how to extend the topological viewpoint to statistical inductive inference.

Author Information:

Kevin Kelly    
Philosophy
Carnegie Mellon

Konstantin Genin    
Philosophy
Carnegie Mellon

 

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