Advertisement

The Unity of Theories

  • Graham Oddie
Chapter
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 117)

Abstract

John Watkins is a critical rationalist. I can think of no more appropriate way of celebrating his contribution to philosophy than by taking one of his conjectures and subjecting it to critical scrutiny: his account of the unity of theories.1 But criticism is only part of critical rationalism, and it is only part (Section 1) of this paper. In Section 2 I rework this conjecture utilising a possible-worlds framework and a thoroughgoing realism concerning causation, law and theory. Most of the desiderata which Watkins lays down for a concept of unity appear to be satisfied within the new account. Moreover, it yields the serendipitous consequence that unified theories must also possess another virtue for which Watkins argues at length: depth. In Section 3 I offer an account of the aim of scientific inquiry which unifies the distinct elements of Watkins’s account.

Keywords

Logical Reducibility Testable Content Logical Space Observational Attribute Theoretical Proposition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Armstrong, D.: 1983, What is a Law of Nature?, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Belnap, N.D. and Steel, T.B.: 1976, The Logic of Questions and Answers, Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Lewis, D.: 1988, Statements partly about observation’ in Philosophical Papers, 17, 1–33.Google Scholar
  4. Niiniluoto, I.: 1987, Truthlikeness, Reidel.Google Scholar
  5. Oddie, G.: 1982, ‘Cohen on verisimilitude and natural necessity’ in Synthese, 51, 355–79.Google Scholar
  6. Oddie, G.: 1986, Likeness to Truth, Reidel.Google Scholar
  7. Oddie, G.: 1987, ‘The picture theory of truthlikeness’ in What is C loser-to-the-Truth? (Posnan Studies in the History and Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities: vol. 7). Theo Kuipers (Ed.), Rodopi, pp 25–46.Google Scholar
  8. Tichy, P.: 1982, ‘Foundations of partial type theory’ in Reports of Mathematical Logic, 14, 59–72.Google Scholar
  9. Watkins, J.W.N.: 1984, Science and scepticism, Princeton University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graham Oddie
    • 1
  1. 1.Massey UniversityNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations