BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

Explanation, unification, and content

Gemes, Ken (1994) Explanation, unification, and content. Nous 28 , pp. 225-240. ISSN 0029-4624.


Download (143kB) | Preview
Official URL:


The following is an essay on the notion of scientific explanation as unification. In it a new notion of (logical) content is used to explicate Michael Friedman's notion of "k-atomicity," and to explicate the notion of the surplus content of hypothesis h relative to evidence e. From this basis an analysis of unification as theoretical reduction is advanced. A second notion of unification, unification as reconciling prima facie incompatible statements, is introduced again with the aid of this new notion of content. More generally, it is argued that rather than seek the essence of scientific explanation we should carefully catalog the various distinct explanatory virtues. Finally it is argue that in particular philosophical explanations put a high premium on the quality of unification through showing how to make compatible seemingly irreconcilable claims.

Item Type: Article
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Philosophy
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 10 May 2005
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:32

Archive Staff Only (login required)

Edit/View Item Edit/View Item