Explaining unification in physics internally

Synthese 198 (6):5861–5882 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

In this paper I challenge two widespread convictions about unification in physics: unification is an aim of physics and unification is driven by metaphysical or metatheoretical presuppositions. I call these external explanations of why there is unification in physics. Against this, I claim that unification is a by-product of physical research and unification is driven by basic methodological strategies of physics alone. I call this an internal explanation of why there is unification in physics. To support my claims, I will investigate the actual practice undertaken in physics in paradigmatic examples of unification.

Similar books and articles

On the Unification of Physics.Tim Maudlin - 1996 - Journal of Philosophy 93 (3):129-144.
Quantum Gravity: A Dogma of Unification?Kian Salimkhani - 2018 - In Alexander Christian, David Hommen, Gerhard Schurz & N. Retzlaff (eds.), Philosophy of Science. European Studies in Philosophy of Science, vol 9. Springer. pp. 23-41.
Unification of Physics.David L. Bergman - 2003 - Foundations of Science 6 (4).
On the unification of physics.Tim Mauldin - 1996 - Journal of Philosophy 93 (3):129-144.
Instrumental unification: Optical apparatus in the unification of dispersion and selective absorption.Xiang Chen - 1999 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 30 (4):519-542.
Instrumental Unification: Optical Apparatus in the Unification of Dispersion and Selective Absorption.Xiang Chen - 1999 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 30 (4):519-542.

Analytics

Added to PP
2019-11-06

Downloads
569 (#34,743)

6 months
154 (#28,406)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Kian Salimkhani
Radboud University

Citations of this work

The dynamical approach to spin-2 gravity.Kian Salimkhani - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 72:29-45.
Holography without holography: How to turn inter-representational into intra-theoretical relations in AdS/CFT.Rasmus Jaksland & Niels S. Linnemann - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 71:101-117.

Add more citations

References found in this work

The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science.Nancy Cartwright - 1999 - New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
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.

View all 30 references / Add more references