Theoretical Virtues and Non-Empirical Guides in Scientific Theory Development

Establishing the Nordic Network for Philosophy of Physics

As part of Establishing the Nordic Network for Philosophy of Physics, a workshop will be hosted at Aarhus University:  Theoretical Virtues and Non-Empirical Guides in Scientific Theory-Development.

Theoretical virtues are desirable features of scientific theories, and may include principles such as consistency, simplicity, unification, and consilience/coherence---not all of which are directly related to empirical evidence. These principles play various roles in scientific theory development, including as heuristic, exploratory guides in scientific discovery, as indicators of pursuit-worthiness, or means of confirmation. But there are also other non-empirical features used in these roles that are not typically classified as theoretical virtues, such as analogy and thought experiment.

In philosophy of physics, interest in non-empirical guides to theory development and assessment is growing, given the prominent status of these guides in the search for new theories of fundamental physics. These features---such as naturalness, symmetry principles, and singularity-resolution---are more specific than the traditional theoretical virtues, but nevertheless appear to bear interesting relations to the broader theoretical virtues.

This workshop aims to connect discussions on theory development and assessment in the philosophy of physics with that in general philosophy of science, and other specific sciences. The topic is conceived of broadly, as including any theoretical virtues, heuristic guides, and principles that are not directly related to experiment and observation.


  • Elena Castellani (Florence)
  • Karen Crowther (Oslo)
  • Richard Dawid (Stockholm)
  • Patrick Duerr (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
  • Rawad El Skaf (Politecnico di Milano)
  • James Fraser (Wuppertal)
  • Rasmus Jaksland (NTNU)
  • Martin King (Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhems-Universit√§t Bonn)
  • Rune Nyrup (Cambridge)
  • Patricia Palacios (Salzburg)
  • Samuel Schindler (Aarhus)
  • Mike Stuart (National Yang Ming Chiao Tung)
  • Frida Trotter (Lausanne)


The program and abstracts can be found here.


The conference site will be here:

Room M2.3

Conference Centre

Fredrik Nielsens Vej 2-4

8000 Aarhus C


Hotel Scandic City:

Further information about Aarhus can be found here:


Samuel Schindler
Published Aug. 30, 2022 7:19 PM - Last modified Nov. 21, 2022 3:39 PM