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Indices of Theory Promise

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 April 2022

Laurie Anne Whitt*
Department of Humanities, Michigan Technological University


Figuring prominently in their decisions regarding which theories to pursue are scientists' appeals to the promise or lack of promise of those theories. Yet philosophy of science has had little to say about how one is to assess theory promise. This essay identifies several indices that might be consulted to determine whether or not a theory is promising and worthy of pursuit. Various historical examples of appeals to such indices are introduced.

Research Article
Copyright © 1992 by the Philosophy of Science Association

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A version of this paper was read at the Ninth International Congress for the Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science in Uppsala, Sweden, and to the Philosophy Department of the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque. I am grateful to members of these audiences, and to a referee for Philosophy of Science, for their comments.

Send reprint requests to the author, Department of Humanities, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931, USA.


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