Explanatory Unification and Scientific Understanding

PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:3 - 12 (1992)
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The theory of explanatory unification was first proposed by Friedman (1974) and developed by Kitcher (1981, 1989). The primary motivation for this theory, it seems to me, is the argument that this account of explanation is the only account that correctly describes the genesis of scientific understanding. Despite the apparent plausibility of Friedman's argument to this effect, however, I argue here that the unificationist thesis of understanding is false. The theory of explanatory unification as articulated by Friedman and Kitcher thus emerges as fundamentally misconceived.



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Eric Barnes
Southern Methodist University

Citations of this work

Explanation and explanationism in science and metaphysics.Juha Saatsi - forthcoming - In Matthew Slater & Zanja Yudell (eds.), Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science: New Essays. Oxford University Press.
Varying the Explanatory Span: Scientific Explanation for Computer Simulations.Juan Manuel Durán - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (1):27-45.
The Unity of Science.Jordi Cat - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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