Interfield theories

Philosophy of Science 44 (1):43-64 (1977)

Authors
Lindley Darden
University of Maryland, College Park
Abstract
This paper analyzes the generation and function of hitherto ignored or misrepresented interfield theories , theories which bridge two fields of science. Interfield theories are likely to be generated when two fields share an interest in explaining different aspects of the same phenomenon and when background knowledge already exists relating the two fields. The interfield theory functions to provide a solution to a characteristic type of theoretical problem: how are the relations between fields to be explained? In solving this problem the interfield theory may provide answers to questions which arise in one field but cannot be answered within it alone, may focus attention on domain items not previously considered important, and may predict new domain items for one or both fields. Implications of this analysis for the problems of reduction and the unity and progress of science are mentioned.
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DOI 10.1086/288723
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