PhilSci Archive

Unification: Not Just a Thing of Beauty

Votsis, Ioannis (2015) Unification: Not Just a Thing of Beauty. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, 30 (1). pp. 97-114. ISSN 2171-679X

[img]
Preview
Text
12695-52850-1-PB.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (408kB) | Preview

Abstract

There is a strong tendency in science to opt for simpler and more unified hypotheses. A view that has of- ten been voiced is that such qualities, though aesthetically pleasing or beautiful, are at best pragmatic considerations in matters of choosing between rival hypotheses. This essay offers a novel conception and an associated measure of unification, both of which are manifestly more than just pragmatic considerations. The discussion commences with a brief survey of some failed attempts to conceptualise unification. It then proceeds to an analysis of the notions of confirmational connectedness and disconnectedness, as these are essential ingredients in the proposed conception of unification and its associated measure. Roughly speaking, the notions attempt to capture the way support flows or fails to flow between the content parts of a hypothesis. Equally roughly, the more the content of a hypothesis is confirmationally connected, i.e. support flows between its content parts, the more that content is unified. Since the confirmational connectedness of two content parts is determined by purely objective matters of fact, the proposed notion and measure of unification are themselves strictly objective, i.e. not merely pragmatic. The essay concludes with a discussion of how the proposed measure handles several examples but also how it relates to the debate over measures of coherence.


Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Votsis, Ioannisvotsis@phil.hhu.de
Additional Information: ISSN: 0495-4548 (print)
Keywords: unification; confirmation theory; objective probabilities; ad hoc; relevant deduction; holism and coherence
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: Unnamed user with email theoria@ehu.es
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2016 01:56
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2016 01:56
Item ID: 12135
Journal or Publication Title: THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science
Publisher: Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco
Official URL: http://www.ehu.eus/ojs/index.php/THEORIA/article/v...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1387/theoria.12695
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: January 2015
Page Range: pp. 97-114
Volume: 30
Number: 1
ISSN: 2171-679X
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/12135

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Altmetric.com

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item