The Role of Unification in Micro-Explanations of Physical Laws

Erik Weber, Merel Lefevere

Abstract


In the literature on scientific explanation, there is a classical distinction between explanations of facts and explanations of laws. This paper is about explanations of laws, more specifically mechanistic explanations of laws. We investigate whether providing unificatory information in mechanistic explanations of laws has a surplus value. Unificatory information is information about how the mechanism that explains the law which is our target relates to other mechanisms (which explain other laws). We argue that providing unificatory information can lead to explanations with more explanatory power (we use Jim Woodward’s concept of explanatory power for that) and that it may lead to more strongly supported explanations.

 


Keywords


causal mechanisms; explanation of laws; explanatory virtues; unification

Full Text:

PDF


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1387/theoria.7054

 

 

 

________________________

THEORIA ::  eISSN: 2171-679X | ISSN: 0495-4548

Contact: theoria@ehu.es

THEORIA is published under a Creative Commons Licence:
Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 Generic