The role of unification in micro-explanations of physical laws

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Theoria (Spain), ISSN: 0495-4548, Vol: 29, Issue: 1, Page: 41-56

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Weber, Erik; Lefevere, Merel
UPV/EHU Press; Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco
Arts and Humanities
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In the literature on scientific explanation, there is a classical distinction between explanations of particular facts and explanations of laws. This paper is about explanations of laws, more specifically about micro-explanations of laws in physics. We investigate whether providing unificatory information has a surplus value in micro-explanations of physical laws. Unificatory information is information that provides ontolog-ical unification in the sense defined by Uskali Mäki. We argue that providing unificatory information may lead to explanations with more explanatory power (we use Jim Woodward's concept of explanatory power for that) and that it may lead to more strongly supported explanations.