On the Evidential Import of Unification

Philosophy of Science 84 (1):92-114 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This paper discusses two senses in which a hypothesis may be said to unify evidence. One is the ability of the hypothesis to increase the mutual information of a set of evidence statements; the other is the ability of the hypothesis to explain commonalities in observed phenomena by positing a common origin for them. On Bayesian updating, it is only mutual information unification that contributes to the incremental support of a hypothesis by the evidence unified. This poses a challenge for the view that explanation is a confirmatory virtue that contributes to such incremental support; its advocates must ground it in some relevant difference between humans and a Bayesian agent.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,419

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

A Bayesian Account of the Virtue of Unification.Wayne C. Myrvold - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (2):399-423.
On a bayesian analysis of the virtue of unification.Jonah N. Schupbach - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (4):594-607.
Bayesianism and unification: A reply to Wayne Myrvold.Marc Lange - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (2):205-215.
Unification and the Quantum Hypothesis in 1900–1913.Molly Kao - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (5):1200-1210.
Necessarily Adequate Evidence about Other Minds.T. Greenwood - 1972 - Philosophy 47 (182):359 - 370.
Model selection, simplicity, and scientific inference.Wayne C. Myrvold & William L. Harper - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S135-S149.
Contextualism about Evidential Support.Jessica Brown - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2):329-354.
Stronger evidence.Peter Achinstein - 1994 - Philosophy of Science 61 (3):329-350.
From the indirect confirmation of theories to theory unification.Luca Moretti - 2004 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 1 (18):10-14.


Added to PP

131 (#97,508)

6 months
4 (#184,953)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

Does IBE Require a ‘Model’ of Explanation?Frank Cabrera - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (2):727-750.
The Unity of Science.Jordi Cat - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Modeling creative abduction Bayesian style.Christian J. Feldbacher-Escamilla & Alexander Gebharter - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):1-15.

View all 15 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
The Direction of Time.Hans Reichenbach - 1956 - Dover Publications.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge.
The Logic of Scientific Discovery.Karl Popper - 1959 - Studia Logica 9:262-265.

View all 40 references / Add more references