Philosophy of the Social Sciences 31 (4):488-506 (2001)

Authors
Uskali Mäki
University of Helsinki
Abstract
Explanatory unification—the urge to “explain much by little”—serves as an ideal of theorizing not only in natural sciences but also in the social sciences, most notably in economics. The ideal is occasionally challenged by appealing to the complexity and diversity of social systems and processes in space and time. This article proposes to accommodate such doubts by making a distinction between two kinds of unification and suggesting that while such doubts may be justified in regard to mere derivational unification (which serves as a formal constraint on theories), it is less justified in the case of ontological unification (which is a result of factual discovery of the actual degree of underlying unity in the world)
Keywords Explanation  Unification  Explanatory Unification
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DOI 10.1177/004839310103100402
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References found in this work BETA

Essays in Positive Economics.Milton Friedman - 1953 - University of Chicago 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.
Explanatory Unification and the Causal Structure of the World.Philip Kitcher - 1989 - In Philip Kitcher & Wesley Salmon (eds.), Scientific Explanation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. pp. 410-505.

View all 16 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Explanation Paradox.Julian Reiss - 2012 - Journal of Economic Methodology 19 (1):43-62.
Mathematics and Explanatory Generality.Alan Baker - 2017 - Philosophia Mathematica 25 (2):194-209.
The Roles of Integration in Molecular Systems Biology.Maureen A. O’Malley & Orkun S. Soyer - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):58-68.
Economics Imperialism: Concept and Constraints.Uskali Mäki - 2009 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 39 (3):351-380.
The Roles of Integration in Molecular Systems Biology.Maureen A. O’Malley & Orkun S. Soyer - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):58-68.

View all 47 citations / Add more citations

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