Noûs 28 (2):225-240 (1994)

Ken Gemes
Birkbeck College
The following is an essay on the notion of scientific explanation as unification. In it a new notion of content is used to explicate Michael Friedman's notion of "k-atomicity," and to explicate the notion of the surplus content of hypothesis h relative to evidence e. From this basis an analysis of unification as theoretical reduction is advanced. A second notion of unification, unification as reconciling prima facie incompatible statements, is introduced again with the aid of this new notion of content. More generally, it is argued that rather than seek the essence of scientific explanation we should carefully catalog the various distinct explanatory virtues. Finally it is argue that in particular philosophical explanations put a high premium on the quality of unification through showing how to make compatible seemingly irreconcilable claims.
Keywords Explanation   Philosophy of Science
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DOI 10.2307/2216050
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References found in this work BETA

Explanation and Scientific Understanding.Michael Friedman - 1974 - Journal of Philosophy 71 (1):5-19.
Explanatory Unification.Philip Kitcher - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (4):507-531.
Aspects of Scientific Explanation.Asa Kasher - 1965 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 37 (4):747-749.
Four Decades of Scientific Explanation.Wesley C. Salmon & Anne Fagot-Largeault - 1989 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 16 (2):355.

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Citations of this work BETA

Laws of Nature, Explanation, and Semantic Circularity.Erica Shumener - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):787-815.
A New Theory of Content II: Model Theory and Some Alternatives. [REVIEW]Ken Gemes - 1997 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 26 (4):449-476.

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