Explaining unification in physics internally

Synthese 198 (6):5861–5882 (2021)
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In this paper I challenge two widespread convictions about unification in physics: unification is an aim of physics and unification is driven by metaphysical or metatheoretical presuppositions. I call these external explanations of why there is unification in physics. Against this, I claim that unification is a by-product of physical research and unification is driven by basic methodological strategies of physics alone. I call this an internal explanation of why there is unification in physics. To support my claims, I will investigate the actual practice undertaken in physics in paradigmatic examples of unification.

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Kian Salimkhani
University of Cologne


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