Journal Article

Akaike Information Criterion, Curve-fitting, and the Philosophical Problem of Simplicity

I. A. Kieseppä

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 48, issue 1, pages 21-48
Published in print March 1997 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online March 1997 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/48.1.21
Akaike Information Criterion, Curve-fitting, and the Philosophical Problem of Simplicity

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The philosophical significance of the procedure of applying Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) to curve-fitting problems is evaluated. The theoretical justification for using AIC (the so-called Akaike's theorem) is presented in a rigorous way, and its range of validity is assessed by presenting both instances in which it is valid and counter-examples in which it is invalid. The philosophical relevance of the justification that this result gives for making one particular choice between simple and complicated hypotheses is emphasized. In addition, recent claims that the methods based on Akaike's theorem are relevant to other philosophical problems associated with the notion of simplicity are presented and evaluated.

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Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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