Explanatory Unification: Double and Doubtful.

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  • Author(s): Mäki, Uskali
  • Source:
    Philosophy of the Social Sciences. Dec2001, Vol. 31 Issue 4, p488. 19p.
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • 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). [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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