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A Neurathian Conception of the Unity of Science

Potochnik, Angela (2011) A Neurathian Conception of the Unity of Science. [Preprint]

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Abstract

An historically important conception of the unity of science is explanatory reductionism, according to which the unity of science is achieved by explaining all laws of science in terms of their connection to microphysical laws. There is, however, a separate tradition that advocates the unity of science. According to that tradition, the unity of science consists of the coordination of diverse fields of science, none of which is taken to have privileged epistemic status. This alternate conception has roots in Otto Neurath’s notion of unified science. In this paper, I develop a version of this coordination approach to unity and discuss its connection to Neurath’s views. The resulting conception of the unity of science achieves some aims similar to those of explanatory reductionism, but does so in a radically different way. As a result, it is immune to the criticisms of explanatory reductionism. This conception of unity is also importantly different from the view that science is disunified, and I conclude by demonstrating how the coordinate unity of science accords better with scientific practice than do conceptions of the disunity of science.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Potochnik, Angela
Keywords: unity of science, Otto Neurath, reductionism
Subjects: General Issues > Logical Positivism/Logical Empiricism
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Depositing User: Angela Potochnik
Date Deposited: 12 May 2021 03:09
Last Modified: 12 May 2021 03:09
Item ID: 19016
Journal or Publication Title: Erkenntnis
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1007/s10670-010-9228-0
Subjects: General Issues > Logical Positivism/Logical Empiricism
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Date: 2011
Page Range: pp. 305-319
Volume: 34
Number: 3
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19016

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