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This book is about the methods used for unifying different scientific theories under one all-embracing theory. The process has characterized much of the history of science and is prominent in contemporary physics; the search for a "theory of everything" involves the same attempt at unification. Margaret Morrison argues that, contrary to popular philosophical views, unification and explanation often have little to do with each other. The mechanisms that facilitate unification are not those that enable us to explain how or why phenomena behave as they do. The book emphasizes the importance of mathematical structures in unification, and claims that despite this common feature theory unification is a multi-faceted process for which no general account can be offered.Read more
- A major challenge to contemporary thinking about scientific explanation
- Addresses both biology and physical sciences
- Wide range of historical case studies incorporated e.g. Kepler, Maxwell and Darwin
Reviews & endorsements
"Unifying Scientific Theories offers an exemplar of the historical and philosophical breadth that are important and badly needed in philosophical attempts to understand the many faces of unity in science." Andrew Wayne, Canadian Journal of PhilosophySee more reviews
"I expect this book to have a truly significant impact on today's philosophy of science. My reasons are three: it is solidly grounded in the history of science, it addresses biology as well as the physical sciences, and it represents a tremendous challenge to much contemporary thinking about scientific explanation." Bas van Fraassen, author of The Scientific Image
"a sustained, informative, and thought-provoking"
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- Date Published: January 2000
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9780521652162
- length: 282 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
- weight: 0.59kg
- contains: 9 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. The many faces of unity
2. Unification, realism and inference
3. Maxwell's unification of electromagnetism and optics
4. Gauges, symmetries and forces: the electroweak unification
5. Special relativity and the unity of physics
6. Darwin and natural selection: unification versus explanation
7. Structural unity and the biological synthesis
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