Unity of science
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The unity of science is a thesis in philosophy of science that says that all the sciences form a unified whole.
Even though, for example, physics and sociology are distinct disciplines, the thesis of the unity of science says that in principle they must be part of a unified intellectual endeavor: science. The unity of science thesis is often associated with a framework of levels of organization in nature, where physics is the most basic, chemistry the level above physics, biology above chemistry, sociology above biology, and so forth. Further, cells, organisms, and cultures are all biological, but they represent three different levels of biological organization.
It has also been suggested (for example, in Jean Piaget's 1918 work Recherche) that the unity of science can be considered in terms of a circle of the sciences, where logic is the foundation for mathematics, which is the foundation for mechanics and physics, and physics is the foundation for chemistry, which is the foundation for biology, which is the foundation for sociology, the moral sciences, psychology, and the theory of knowledge, and the theory of knowledge is based on logic.
The unity of science thesis is famously clarified and tentatively argued for by Ludwig von Bertalanffy in "General System Theory: A New Approach to Unity of Science" (1951) and by Paul Oppenheim and Hilary Putnam in "Unity of Science as a Working Hypothesis" (1958). It is famously argued against by Jerry Fodor in "Special Sciences (Or: The Disunity of Science as a Working Hypothesis)" (1974), by Paul Feyerabend in Against Method (1975) and later works, and by John Dupré in "The Disunity of Science" (1983) and The Disorder of Things: Metaphysical Foundations of the Disunity of Science (1993).
- Bertalanffy, Ludwig von (December 1951). "General system theory: a new approach to unity of science: 1. Problems of general system theory". Human Biology. 23 (4): 302–312. JSTOR 41448003. PMID 14907026. Bertallanfy's article was part of a section that also included, in response, Carl G. Hempel's "General system theory and the unity of science" (pp. 313–322), Robert E. Bass's "Unity of nature" (pp. 323–327), and Hans Jonas's "Comment on general system theory" (pp. 328–335).
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- Dupré, John (1993). The disorder of things: metaphysical foundations of the disunity of science. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674212606. OCLC 25746325.
- Feyerabend, Paul (2011). "The disunity of science". The tyranny of science. Cambridge, UK; Malden, MA: Polity Press. pp. 32–63. ISBN 978-0745651897. OCLC 668946683.
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- Galison, Peter; Stump, David J., eds. (1996). The disunity of science: boundaries, contexts, and power. Writing science. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0804724369. OCLC 32468580.
- Kincaid, Harold (1997). Individualism and the unity of science: essays on reduction, explanation, and the special sciences. Worldly philosophy. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0847686620. OCLC 36817265.
- Odum, Howard T. (1995). "Energy systems and the unification of science". In Hall, Charles A. S. (ed.). Maximum power: the ideas and applications of H.T. Odum. Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado. pp. 365–372. ISBN 0870813625. OCLC 31436211.
- Oppenheim, Paul; Putnam, Hilary (1958). "Unity of science as a working hypothesis". In Feigl, Herbert (ed.). Concepts, theories and the mind–body problem. Minnesota studies in the philosophy of science. 2. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. pp. 3–36. hdl:11299/184622. ISBN 9780816601585. OCLC 2669746. Reprinted in Boyd, Gasper & Trout 1991.
- Pombo, Olga; Torres, Juan Manuel; Symons, John; Rahman, Shahid, eds. (2012). Special sciences and the unity of science. Dordrecht; New York: Springer-Verlag. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-2030-5. ISBN 9789400720299.
- Potochnik, Angela (May 2011). "A Neurathian conception of the unity of science". Erkenntnis. 74 (3): 305–319. doi:10.1007/s10670-010-9228-0. JSTOR 41476691. S2CID 143918932.
- Ruphy, Stéphanie (2016) . Scientific pluralism reconsidered: a new approach to the (dis)unity of science. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 9780822944584. OCLC 951158157.
- Symons, John; Pombo, Olga; Torres, Juan Manuel, eds. (2011). Otto Neurath and the unity of science. Logic, epistemology, and the unity of science. 18. Dordrecht; New York: Springer-Verlag. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-0143-4. ISBN 9789400701427. OCLC 723045353.
- Wilson, Malcolm (2000). Aristotle's theory of the unity of science. Phoenix, supplementary volume. 38. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. doi:10.3138/9781442670990. ISBN 0802047963. OCLC 43634904.
- Guide to the Unity of Science Movement Records 1934-1968 at the University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center