Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2021)

Authors
Tuomas E. Tahko
University of Bristol
Abstract
Unity of science was once a very popular idea among both philosophers and scientists. But it has fallen out of fashion, largely because of its association with reductionism and the challenge from multiple realisation. Pluralism and the disunity of science are the new norm, and higher-level natural kinds and special science laws are considered to have an important role in scientific practice. What kind of reductionism does multiple realisability challenge? What does it take to reduce one phenomenon to another? How do we determine which kinds are natural? What is the ontological basis of unity? In this Element, Tuomas Tahko examines these questions from a contemporary perspective, after a historical overview. The upshot is that there is still value in the idea of a unity of science. We can combine a modest sense of unity with pluralism and give an ontological analysis of unity in terms of natural kind monism.
Keywords unity of science  natural kinds  microstructural essentialism  levels of reality  multiple realization  higher-level kinds  metaphysics of science  disunity of science  pluralism  biochemical kinds
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ISBN(s) 9781108713382   1108713386
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