The Case of Simplicity: Are Certain Cognitive Values indeed Non-Epistemic Values?


Eser Bakdur & Michael Poznic


It has long been considered that values that drive the conduct of scientific inquiry are essentially of an epistemic kind, e.g., truth, empirical adequacy, simplicity, etc. These values have also been referred to as cognitive values. Recently, scholars such as Laudan (2004), Steel (2010) and Douglas (2009, 2013) distinguished certain cognitive values from epistemic values such as empirical adequacy and consistency. In this paper, we will examine the question whether it is reasonable to distinguish simplicity as a cognitive value from epistemic values and inquire into whether simplicity is an epistemic value yet.