CVTS: Coherence, Verifiability, Transparency, Simplicity

Mike Beyer's essentials of scientific explanation. Just remember C,V,T,S!

Having surveyed the proposed criteria of explanatory adequacy, Mike Beyer suggested that they could be synthesized into four essential principles. He wrote:

...I began to wonder if there were some way to boil down the essentials of scientific explanation into a few words or mnemonics. As a first cut, I'd thought of the following list of features and why they matter might help us naturalists keep our core principles "in our back pocket" so to say:

Coherence: Explanations should be part of a unified picture of cause and effect; otherwise, our knowledge is fragmented.

Verifiability: Explanations should generate predictions that can be verified/falsified independently of the phenomena they seek to explain; otherwise, our knowledge is unreliable.

Transparency: Explanations should not contain any elements whose behavior and properties are not precisely specified; otherwise, our knowledge is not insight.

Simplicity: Explanations should contain as few elements as possible while maintaining coherence, verifiability and transparency; otherwise, we assume more than is justified.

So there we have it: Coherence, Verifiability, Transparency and Simplicity, or... CVTS for short.  Thanks Mike!