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Higher doctorate (habilitation) dissertation defense by Samuel Schindler

Theoretical Virtues in Science: Uncovering Reality through Theory

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Friday 24 September 2021,  at 13:00 - 16:00


What are the features of a good scientific theory? Samuel Schindler's book revisits this classical question in the philosophy of science and develops new answers to it. Theoretical virtues matter not only for choosing theories 'to work with', but also for what we are justified in believing: only if the theories we possess are good ones (qua virtues) can we be confident that our theories' claims about nature are actually correct. Recent debates have focused rather narrowly on a theory's capacity to predict new phenomena successfully, but Schindler argues that the justification for this focus is thin. He discusses several other theory properties such as testability, accuracy, and consistency, and highlights the importance of simplicity and coherence. Using detailed historical case studies and careful philosophical analysis, Schindler challenges the received view of theoretical virtues and advances arguments for the view that science uncovers reality through theory.

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