Publication details for Professor Nancy CartwrightBhakthavatsalam, S. & Cartwright, N. (2017). What’s so special about empirical adequacy? European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7(3): 445-465.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: 1879-4912, 1879-4920
- DOI: 10.1007/s13194-017-0171-7
- Further publication details on publisher web site
- Durham Research Online (DRO) - may include full text
Author(s) from Durham
Empirical adequacy matters directly - as it does for antirealists - if we aim to get all or most of the observable facts right, or indirectly - as it does for realists - as a symptom that the claims we make about the theoretical facts are right. But why should getting the facts - either theoretical or empirical - right be required of an acceptable theory? Here we endorse two other jobs that good theories are expected to do: helping us with a) understanding and b) managing the world. Both are of equal, often greater, importance than getting a swathe of facts right, and empirical adequacy fares badly in both. It is not needed for doing these jobs and in many cases it gets in the way of doing them efficiently.