A Neurathian Conception of the Unity of Science

Erkenntnis 74 (3):305-319 (2011)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

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 Neurath’s notion of unified science. In this paper, I develop a version of the coordination approach to unity that is inspired by Neurath’s views. The resulting conception of the unity of science achieves aims similar to those of explanatory reductionism, but does so in a radically different way. As a result, it is immune to the criticisms facing explanatory reductionism. This conception of unity is also importantly different from the view that science is disunified, and I conclude by demonstrating how it accords better with scientific practice than do conceptions of the disunity of science

Similar books and articles

The unity of science.Martin Carrier & Jürgen Mittelstrass - 1990 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 4 (1):17-31.
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. pp. 129-140.
Explanatory disunities and the unity of science.David Davies - 1996 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 10 (1):5 – 21.
Scientific Practice and the Disunity of Physics.Andreas Hüttemann - 1998 - Philosophia Naturalis 35 (1):209-222.
Unity, Theism and Self in Plotinus.Donald N. Blakeley - 1992 - Philosophy and Theology 7 (1):53-80.
Cosmology, particles, and the unity of science.Henrik Zinkernagel - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 33 (3):493-516.
The appearance of unity: A higher-order interpretation of the unity of consciousness.Josh Weisberg - 2001 - Proceedings of the Twenty-Third Annual Conference of The Cognitive Science Society.
Concepts, Theories, And The Mind-Body Problem.Herbert Feigl (ed.) - 1958 - University of Minnesota Press.
Unified Theories and Disparate Things.Margaret Morrison - 1994 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:365 - 373.

Analytics

Added to PP
2010-11-18

Downloads
1,104 (#12,143)

6 months
131 (#31,065)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Angela Potochnik
University of Cincinnati

Citations of this work

The Limitations of Hierarchical Organization.Angela Potochnik & Brian McGill - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (1):120-140.
Rethinking Woodger’s Legacy in the Philosophy of Biology.Daniel J. Nicholson & Richard Gawne - 2014 - Journal of the History of Biology 47 (2):243-292.
Refining the Bayesian Approach to Unifying Generalisation.Nina Poth - 2022 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology (3):1-31.
Unificatory Explanation.Marco J. Nathan - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (1).

View all 15 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

How the laws of physics lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science.Nancy Cartwright - 1999 - New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Philosophy of natural science.Carl Gustav Hempel - 1966 - Englewood Cliffs, N.J.,: Prentice-Hall.
The Structure of Science.Ernest Nagel - 1961 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):275-275.

View all 32 references / Add more references