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Publisher: Journals Gateway
Perspectives on Science (2014) 22 (4): 491–522.
Published: 01 December 2014
AbstractView article PDF
In the Kuhnian view of theory choice, theories, as a matter of empirical fact, often score differently with regard to the standard theoretical virtues. The case I discuss in this paper, however, is a case in which there was one theory which was more virtuous than all its competitors. In such cases practitioners' disparate weighting preferences, which Kuhn is so keen to emphasize, make no difference to theory choice: practitioners' choices will converge on one theory despite their different weighting preferences. The case I discuss in this paper concerns the Glashow-Weinberg-Salam (GWS) model of electroweak interactions in the early 1970s. After considering the contemporary experimental evidence in its favor in detail, I argue that the GWS model was chosen not because the evidence in its favor was compelling, but rather because its virtues exceeded those of its competitors.