Journal Article

Unification, Explanation and Explaining Unity: The Fisher–Wright Controversy

Margaret Morrison

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 57, issue 1, pages 233-245
Published in print March 2006 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online November 2005 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axi149
Unification, Explanation and Explaining Unity: The Fisher–Wright Controversy

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In Morrison [2000] I argued that the frameworks and mechanisms that produce unification do not enable us to explain why the unified phenomena behave as they do. That is, we need to look beyond the unifying process for an explanation of these phenomena. Anya Plutynski ([2005]) has called into question my claim about the relationship between unification and explanation as well as my characterization of it in the context of the early synthesis of Mendelism with Darwinian natural selection. In this paper I argue that her methodological criticisms rest on a misinterpretation of my views on explanation and defend my historical interpretation of the work of Fisher and Wright.

A statement of the problem

Methodological differences: how to characterize explanation

Historical matters: disagreements about details

Explanation revisited: the possible versus the ‘merely actual’

Journal Article.  5688 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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