Unifying scientific theories. Margaret Morrison

Mind 110 (440):1097-1102 (2001)
Abstract
Is the universe really governed by a small set of unifying fundamental laws, as many thinkers have claimed since ancient times? Philosophers who call themselves naturalists believe that the way to settle such questions is to look carefully at what empirical science tells us. In this book, Margaret Morrison argues that if we really do this, we find that science currently does not give us any reason to believe the common picture of the world in which everything can be reduced to a vanishingly small set of entities and forces. Like Nancy Cartwright and John Dupree, Morrison believes that science reveals a world of numerous different sorts of entities and processes, described by different sorts of explanation. Trying to come up with unified descriptions of phenomena does play an important role in science, says Morrison, but there are different types of unification. The sort in which one set of entities can be reductively identified with another occurs rarely. What we find more often are various ways of subsuming different phenomena under similar mathematical formalisms. An urge to unify, in different guises, is an important research motivator, Morrison argues, but it is not the sort of monolithic engine of science that many make it out to be.
Keywords Unification  Explanation  Science
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/mind/110.440.1097
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,046
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Talel A. Debs (2003). Unifying Scientific Theories: Physical Concepts and Mathematical Structures. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 34 (1):151-153.
Margaret Morrison (1994). Unified Theories and Disparate Things. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:365 - 373.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

56 ( #80,057 of 1,934,428 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #434,193 of 1,934,428 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.