Unity of Science, Synthese Library Volume 109
by Robert L. Causey
D. Reidel Publishing Co., Dordrecht, Holland and Boston, MA, 1977, viii + 180 pp. B67 C33 ISBN 90-277-0779-0. Now distributed by Springer Verlag , and available online at: Springer Link .
There is a perennial interest in the possibility of a unified science which would provide an integrated understanding of all natural and social phenomena. This book presents a detailed formulation and defense of a systematic program for the unification of science.
The author begins with a general discussion of laws, identities, and explanations. He distinguishes laws from identities (of kinds or of attributes) and analyzes the roles of laws and identities in explanations. He then explicates the logical structure of theories involving parts and wholes. This is followed by the most detailed analysis ever presented of the requirements for microreductions. The role of structural descriptions is carefully examined, and it is argued that the connecting sentences must be identities.
The author next formulates a set of necessary conditions for unified theories. He then argues that, under appropriate conditions, microreductions provide the only satisfactory method of theory unification. This yields a novel foundational justification for a reductive program for the unification of science.
This program faces some important complications and obstacles. They are identified and their significance is assessed. The book concludes with a discussion of the importance of the unification program for scientific progress.
This book and some of the author's articles on related subjects have been subjected to considerable critical discussion. Although the book is now rather old, and reductive methodologies are currently somewhat out of fashion, Unity of Science is still cited as a major source on theory reduction and unification of science.
A Romanian translation of this description is available at Unity of Science [Romanian] .
A Polish translation of this description is available at Jednosc Nauki .
A Portuguese translation is here, Unity of Science [Portuguese] .
Update by RLC: 12/10/2017