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Summary Unity of science is, most basically, the idea that all fields of science are in some way united.  The most well-known thesis of the unity of science is that all fields of science will ultimately be reduced to fundamental physics, thereby demonstrating the basis for all scientific laws in the universal laws of physics.  This extreme form of reductionism was prominent in philosophy of science in the mid-twentieth century.  In response, a number of philosophers have since advocated for the disunity of science.  Very different views of the unity of science have also been put forward; these focus instead on the sciences' shared methods, shared language, or shared aims.  A notable example is the Vienna Circle's programmatic unity of science movement.  
Key works A classic formulation of reductive unity of science is Oppenheim & Putnam 1958Fodor 1974 formulates an influential alternative view of the disunity of science based on multiple realization.  Disunity of science is also advocated by Dupré 1993Rosenberg 1994, and Cartwright 1999. Alternative formulations of unity of science include Darden & Maull 1977 and Grantham 2004.  See Morris 1966 and Symons et al 2011 on the logical empiricists', and especially Otto Neurath's, unity of science movement.  
Introductions See Cat 2013 for an overview of the history of the unity of science issue and an overview of the variety of unities that have been posited.  
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  1. Unified Science.Felix Kaufmann - forthcoming - Social Research.
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  2. The Unity of Science: Essays in Honour of Otto Neurath.Olga Pombo (ed.) - forthcoming - Kluwer Academic Publishers.
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  3. Special-Science Autonomy and the Division of Labor.Michael Strevens - forthcoming - In Mark Couch & Jessica Pfeifer (eds.), The Philosophy of Philip Kitcher.
    Philip Kitcher has advocated and advanced an influential antireductionist picture of science on which the higher-level sciences pursue their aims largely independently of the lower-level sciences -- a view of the sciences as autonomous. Explanatory autonomy as Kitcher understands it is incompatible with explanatory reductionism, the view that a high-level explanation is inevitably improved by providing a lower-level explanation of its parts. This paper explores an alternative conception of autonomy based on another major theme of Kitcher's philosophy of science: the (...)
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  4. Unity of Science.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2021 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Unity of science was once a very popular idea among both philosophers and scientists. But it has fallen out of fashion, largely because of its association with reductionism and the challenge from multiple realisation. Pluralism and the disunity of science are the new norm, and higher-level natural kinds and special science laws are considered to have an important role in scientific practice. What kind of reductionism does multiple realisability challenge? What does it take to reduce one phenomenon to another? How (...)
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  5. Intersectionality as a Regulative Ideal.Katherine Gasdaglis & Alex Madva - 2019 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6.
    Appeals to intersectionality serve to remind us that social categories like race and gender cannot be adequately understood independently from each other. But what, exactly, is the intersectional thesis a thesis about? Answers to this question are remarkably diverse. Intersectionality is variously understood as a claim about the nature of social kinds, oppression, or experience ; about the limits of antidiscrimination law or identity politics ; or about the importance of fuzzy sets, multifactor analysis, or causal modeling in social science.
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  6. Einheit und Vielfalt in den Wissenschaften.Michael Klasen & Markus Seidel (eds.) - 2019 - Berlin: De Gruyter.
  7. Charles T. Wolfe. Materialism: A Historico-Philosophical Introduction. Dordrecht: Springer, 2016. Pp. Ix+134. $54.99.Noga Arikha - 2017 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 7 (2):386-391.
  8. Interdisciplinary Success Without Integration.Till Grüne-Yanoff - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 6 (3):343-360.
    Some scholars see interdisciplinarity as a special case of a broader unificationist program. They accept the unification of the sciences as a regulative ideal, and derive from this the normative justification of interdisciplinary research practices. The crucial link for this position is the notion of integration: integration increases the cohesion of concepts and practices, and more specifically of explanations, ontologies, methods and data. Interdisciplinary success then consists in the integration of fields or disciplines, and this constitutes success in the sense (...)
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  9. Carnap on Unified Science.Ansten Klev - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 59:53-67.
    Unified science is a recurring theme in Carnap's work from the time of the Aufbau until the end of the 1930's. The theme is not constant, but knows several variations. I shall extract three quite precise formulations of the thesis of unified science from Carnap's work during this period: from the Aufbau, from Carnap's so-called syntactic period, and from "Testability and Meaning" and related papers. My main objective is to explain these formulations and to discuss their relation, both to each (...)
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  10. Peter Vickers: Understanding Inconsistent Science. [REVIEW]Bryson Brown - 2015 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 46 (2):413-418.
  11. A Discussion About the Unity of Science: Neurath and the Utopia of Unified Science.Ivan Ferreira da Cunha - 2015 - Scientiae Studia 13 (1):97-122.
    Neste artigo apresentamos as propostas de Otto Neurath para o problema da unidade da ciência. Conhecido integrante do Círculo de Viena, Neurath defende que a ciência deve ser unificada por meio da chamada concepção de mundo científica, uma orientação ou atitude em relação ao mundo e aos problemas que é característica da ciência. Neste artigo apresentamos o caráter social dos projetos de Neurath, como o da Enciclopédia Internacional da Ciência Unificada. Contrastamos a proposta de Neurath com a crítica pós-modernista da (...)
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  12. The Special Science Dilemma and How Culture Solves It.Marion Godman - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (3):1-18.
    I argue that there is a tension between the claim that at least some kinds in the special sciences are multiply realized and the claim that the reason why kinds are prized by science is that they enter into a variety of different empirical generalizations. Nevertheless, I show that this tension ceases in the case of ‘cultural homologues’—such as specific ideologies, religions, and folk wisdom. I argue that the instances of such special science kinds do have several projectable properties in (...)
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  13. Communicative Rationality of the Maxwellian Revolution.Rinat M. Nugayev - 2015 - Foundations of Science 20 (4):447-478.
    It is demonstrated that Maxwellian electrodynamics was created as a result of the old pre-Maxwellian programmes’s reconciliation: the electrodynamics of Ampère–Weber, the wave theory of Young–Fresnel and Faraday’s programme. Maxwell’s programme finally superseded the Ampère–Weber one because it assimilated the ideas of the Ampère–Weber programme, as well as the presuppositions of the programmes of Young–Fresnel and Faraday. Maxwell’s victory became possible because the core of Maxwell’s unification strategy was formed by Kantian epistemology. Maxwell put forward as a basic synthetic principle (...)
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  14. Natural Kinds, Causes and Domains: Khalidi on How Science Classifies Things.Vincenzo Politi - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 54:132-137.
    Natural Categories and Human Kinds is a recent and timely contribution to current debate on natural kinds. Because of the growing sophistication of this debate, it is necessary to make careful distinctions in order to appreciate the originality of Khalidi’s position. Khalidi’s view on natural kinds is naturalistic: if we want to know what Nature’s joints really are, we should look at the actual carving job carried out by our best scientific practices. Like LaPorte, Khalidi is a fallibilist: our best (...)
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  15. Evo-Devo as a Trading Zone.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2015 - In Alan Love (ed.), Conceptual Change in Biology: Scientific and Philosophical Perspectives on Evolution and Development. Springer Verlag, Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science.
    Evo-Devo exhibits a plurality of scientific “cultures” of practice and theory. When are the cultures acting—individually or collectively—in ways that actually move research forward, empirically, theoretically, and ethically? When do they become imperialistic, in the sense of excluding and subordinating other cultures? This chapter identifies six cultures – three /styles/ (mathematical modeling, mechanism, and history) and three /paradigms/ (adaptationism, structuralism, and cladism). The key assumptions standing behind, under, or within each of these cultures are explored. Characterizing the internal structure of (...)
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  16. Paradigm of Unity as a Prospect for Research and Treatment in Psychology.Adam Biela - 2014 - Journal for Perspectives of Economic Political and Social Integration 19 (1-2):207-227.
    The purpose of this paper is to show the methodological power and potentiality of the concept paradigm of unity introduced originally in the ceremony on the occasion of honoring Chiara Lubich with the doctor honoris causa title by the Catholic University of Lublin in 1996. Originally this conception was used to suggest the societal activity of Chiara Lubich in building, via the Focolari movement, psychosocial infrastructures for unity in various social domains,, in public media, in ecumenism and inter-religious contacts This (...)
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  17. Science in Two Minds: Reflections on the Missional Disunity Within Contemporary Medicine.P. C. Burcham - 2014 - Christian Bioethics 20 (3):359-375.
  18. Does the Unity of Science Have a Future?Jan Faye - 2014 - Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 17:263-275.
    The program of logical positivism gave inspiration to the unity of science movement. The movement carried the belief that all sciences, including the social sciences and the humanities, ought to share some common language if these disciplines were to be considered genuine sciences.
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  19. A Framework for Inter-Level Explanations: Outlines for a New Explanatory Pluralism.Raoul Gervais - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 48:1-9.
  20. Explanatory Strategies Beyond The Individualism/Holism Debate.Jeroen Van Bouwel - 2014 - In Julie Zahle & Finn Collin (eds.), Rethinking the Individualism-Holism Debate. Springer. pp. 105-119.
    Starting from the plurality of explanatory strategies in the actual practice of socialscientists, I introduce a framework for explanatory pluralism – a normative endorsement of the plurality of forms and levels of explanation used by social scientists. Equipped with thisframework, central issues in the individualism/holism debate are revisited, namely emergence,reduction and the idea of microfoundations. Discussing these issues, we notice that in recentcontributions the focus has been shifting towards relationism, pluralism and interaction, awayfrom dichotomous individualism/holism thinking and a winner-takes-all approach. (...)
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  21. Scientific Reduction.Raphael van Riel & Robert Van Gulick - 2014 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  22. The Unity of Science.Jordi Cat - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  23. A Deep Unity Between Scientific Disciplines.Cédric Gaucherel - 2013 - Open Journal of Philosophy 3 (3):413-421.
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  24. Olga Pombo, Juan Manuel Torres, John Symons, and Shadid Rahman, Eds. , Special Sciences and the Unity of Science . Reviewed By.Hinne Hettema - 2013 - Philosophy in Review 33 (4):315-317.
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  25. Natural Categories and Human Kinds: Classification in the Natural and Social Sciences.Muhammad Ali Khalidi - 2013 - Cambridge University Press.
    The notion of 'natural kinds' has been central to contemporary discussions of metaphysics and philosophy of science. Although explicitly articulated by nineteenth-century philosophers like Mill, Whewell and Venn, it has a much older history dating back to Plato and Aristotle. In recent years, essentialism has been the dominant account of natural kinds among philosophers, but the essentialist view has encountered resistance, especially among naturalist metaphysicians and philosophers of science. Informed by detailed examination of classification in the natural and social sciences, (...)
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  26. Unity of Science and Pluralism: Cognitive Neurosciences of Racial Prejudice as a Case Study.Luc Faucher - 2012 - In Torres Juan, Pombo Olga, Symons John & Rahman Shahid (eds.), Special Sciences and the Unity of Science. Springer. pp. 177--204.
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  27. The Unity of Chemistry and Physics: Absolute Reaction Rate Theory.Hinne Hettema - 2012 - Hyle 18 (2):145 - 173.
    Henry Eyring's absolute rate theory explains the size of chemical reaction rate constants in terms of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and quantum chemistry. In addition it uses a number of unique concepts such as the 'transition state'. A key feature of the theory is that the explanation it provides relies on the comparison of reaction rate constant expressions derived from these individual theories. In this paper, the example is used to develop a naturalized notion of reduction and the unity of science. (...)
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  28. Special Sciences and the Unity of Science.Torres Juan, Pombo Olga, Symons John & Rahman Shahid (eds.) - 2012 - Springer.
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  29. Unity Without Myths.Daniel Andler - 2011 - In John Symons, Juan Manuel Torres & Olga Plomb (eds.), New approaches to the Unity of Science, vol. 1: Otto Neurath and the Unity of Science. Springer.
    We seem to suffer from a case of cognitive dissonance. On the one hand, we seem to have almost unanimously rejected as hopeless or incoherent the aim of a unified science. On the other, we passionately debate about the prospects of research programs which, if successful, would considerably enhance the prospects of unification: from particle physics to cognitive neuroscience, from evolutionary theory to logical modeling or dynamic systems, a common motivation seems to be the quest for unity1. The purpose of (...)
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  30. A Neurathian Conception of the Unity of Science.Angela Potochnik - 2011 - Erkenntnis 74 (3):305-319.
    An historically important conception of the unity of science is explanatory reductionism, according to which the unity of science is achieved by explaining all laws of science in terms of their connection to microphysical law. There is, however, a separate tradition that advocates the unity of science. According to that tradition, the unity of science consists of the coordination of diverse fields of science, none of which is taken to have privileged epistemic status. This alternate conception has roots in Otto (...)
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  31. New Approaches to the Unity of Science, Vol. 1: Otto Neurath and the Unity of Science.John Symons, Juan Manuel Torres & Olga Plomb (eds.) - 2011 - Springer.
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  32. On Unity and Disunity in the Sciences: Variations of Ancient Themata.Gerald Holton - 2010 - Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 14:245-262.
    I feel honored to be asked to speak at this university where so many ground-breaking scientists and philosophers were students or teaching, spreading their message world wide and I am especially glad to have been asked to come by the Institut Wiener Kreis, of which I am proud to be a member, and whose splendid work for two decades and to this day is being carried out vigorously under Professor Stadler and his colleagues. Through that, a bright flame is being (...)
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  33. Cracks on the Mosaic Unity of Science: Carl F. Craver: Explaining the Brain: Mechanisms and the Mosaic Unity of Science. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007, Xx + 308 Pp, Pbk £16.99.Athanassios Raftopoulos - 2010 - Metascience 19 (2):293-296.
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  34. I’D Love to Be a Naturalist—If Only I Knew What Naturalism Was.Lawrence Sklar - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (5):1121-1137.
  35. Unification.T. Jones - 2008 - In Martin Curd & Stathis Psillos (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Science. Routledge.
    Summary: Throughout the history of science, indeed throughout the history of knowledge, unification has been touted as a central aim of intellectual inquiry. We’ve always wanted to discover not only numerous bare facts about the universe, but to show how such facts are linked and interrelated. Large amounts of time and effort have been spent trying to show diverse arrays of things can be seen as different manifestations of some common underlying entities or properties. Thales is said to have originated (...)
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  36. Bio-Ontologies as Tools for Integration in Biology.Sabina Leonelli - 2008 - Biological Theory 3 (1):7-11.
  37. Reduction, Unity and the Nature of Science: Kant's Legacy?Margaret Morrison - 2008 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 63:37-62.
    One of the hallmarks of Kantian philosophy, especially in connection with its characterization of scientific knowledge, is the importance of unity, a theme that is also the driving force behind a good deal of contemporary high energy physics. There are a variety of ways that unity figures in modern science—there is unity of method where the same kinds of mathematical techniques are used in different sciences, like physics and biology; the search for unified theories like the unification of electromagnetism and (...)
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  38. New Theories of Everything: The Quest for Ultimate Explanation.John D. Barrow - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
    Will we ever discover a single scientific theory that explains everything that has ever happened and everything that will happen - a key that unlocks the ...
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  39. Reduction, Integration, and the Unity of Science: Natural, Behavioral, and Social Sciences and the Humanities.William P. Bechtel & Andrew Hamilton - 2007 - In T. Kuipers (ed.), Philosophy of Science: Focal Issues (Volume 1 of the Handbook of the Philosophy of Science). Elsevier.
    1. A Historical Look at Unity 2. Field Guide to Modern Concepts of Reduction and Unity 3. Kitcher's Revisionist Account of Unification 4. Critics of Unity 5. Integration Instead of Unity 6. Reduction via Mechanisms 7. Case Studies in Reduction and Unification across the Disciplines.
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  40. Scientific Unity.Jordi Cat - 2007 - In Thaddeus Metz (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  41. Reinforcing the Three ‘R's: Reduction, Reception, and Replacement.Ronald P. Endicott - 2007 - In M. Schouten & H. Looren de Jong (eds.), The Matter of the Mind: Philosophical Essays on Psychology, Neuroscience, and Reduction. Blackwell.
    Philosophers of science have offered different accounts of what it means for one scientific theory to reduce to another. I propose a more or less friendly amendment to Kenneth Schaffner’s “General Reduction-Replacement” model of scientific unification. Schaffner interprets scientific unification broadly in terms of a continuum from theory reduction to theory replacement. As such, his account leaves no place on its continuum for type irreducible and irreplaceable theories. The same is true for other accounts that incorporate Schaffner's continuum, for example, (...)
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  42. Rainforest Realism and the Unity of Science.Don Ross, James Ladyman & John Collier - 2007 - In James Ladyman (ed.), Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized. Oxford University Press.
  43. Federalism in Science — Complementarity Vs Perspectivism: Reply to Harré.Daniel Andler - 2006 - Synthese 151 (3):519 - 522.
  44. Unity and Disunity of Science.Jodi Cat - 2006 - In J. Pfeifer & Sahotra Sarkar (eds.), The Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia. Psychology Press. pp. 2--842.
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  45. Special Sciences.Carl Gillett - 2006 - In D. Borchert (ed.), Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Macmillan Reference.
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  46. Nietzsche's Will to Power as a Doctrine of the Unity of Science.R. Lanier Anderson - 2005 - Angelaki 10 (1):77 – 93.
    (2005). Nietzsche's will to Power as a Doctrine of the Unity of Science. Angelaki: Vol. 10, continental philosophy and the sciences the german traditionissue editor: damian veal, pp. 77-93.
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  47. Beyond Reduction: Mechanisms, Multifield Integration and the Unity of Neuroscience.Carl F. Craver - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (2):373-395.
    Philosophers of neuroscience have traditionally described interfield integration using reduction models. Such models describe formal inferential relations between theories at different levels. I argue against reduction and for a mechanistic model of interfield integration. According to the mechanistic model, different fields integrate their research by adding constraints on a multilevel description of a mechanism. Mechanistic integration may occur at a given level or in the effort to build a theory that oscillates among several levels. I develop this alternative model using (...)
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  48. The Large Scale Structure of Logical Empiricism: Unity of Science and the Elimination of Metaphysics.Greg Frost-Arnold - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (5):826-838.
    Two central and well-known philosophical goals of the logical empiricists are the unification of science and the elimination of metaphysics. I argue, via textual analysis, that these two apparently distinct planks of the logical empiricist party platform are actually intimately related. From the 1920’s through 1950, one abiding criterion for judging whether an apparently declarative assertion or descriptive term is metaphysical is that that assertion or term cannot be incorporated into a language of unified science. I explore various versions of (...)
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  49. The Classification of the Sciences and Cross-Disciplinarity.Jaime Nubiola - 2005 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 41 (2):271-282.
    In a world of ever growing specialization, the idea of a unity of science is commonly discarded, but cooperative work involving cross-disciplinary points of view is encouraged. The aim of this paper is to show with some textual support that Charles S. Peirce not only identified this paradoxical situation a century ago, but he also mapped out some paths for reaching a successful solution. A particular attention is paid to Peirce's classification of the sciences and to his conception of science (...)
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  50. An Obstacle to Unification in Biological Social Science: Formal and Compositional Styles of Science.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2005 - Graduate Journal of Social Science 2 (2):40-100.
    I motivate the concept of styles of scientific investigation, and differentiate two styles, formal and compositional. Styles are ways of doing scientific research. Radically different styles exist. I explore the possibility of the unification of biology and social science, as well as the possibility of unifying the two styles I identify. Recent attempts at unifying biology and social science have been premised almost exclusively on the formal style. Through the use of a historical example of defenders of compositional biological social (...)
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