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One possible response to this second example is to bite the bullet and to argue that from the point of view of fundamental physics, there really is no difference in the explanatory import of the retrodictive and predictive derivations, and that it is a virtue, not a defect, of the unificationist approach that it reproduces this judgment. Whatever might be said in favor of this response, it is not Kitcher's. His claim is that our ordinary judgments about causal asymmetries can be derived from the unificationist account. The example just described casts Math software doubt on this claim. More generally, it casts doubt on Kitcher's contention that one can begin with the notion of explanatory unification, understood in a way that does not presuppose causal notions, and use it to derive the content of causal judgments.

This conclusion is reinforced by a more general consideration: unification, as it figures in science is a quite heterogeneous notion, covering many different sorts of achievements.[ 16 ] Some kinds of unification consist in the creation of a common classificatory scheme or descriptive vocabulary where no satisfactory scheme previously existed, as when early investigators like Linnaeus constructed comprehensive and principled systems Ufology of biological classification. Another kind of unification involves the creation of a common mathematical framework or formalism which can be applied to many different sorts of phenomena, as when the systems of equations devised by Lagrange and Hamilton were first developed in connection with mechanics and then applied to domains like electromagnetism and thermodynamics. Still other cases involve what might be described as genuine physical unification, where phenomena previously regarded as having quite different causes or explanations are shown to be the result of a common set of mechanisms or causal relationships. Newton's demonstration that the orbits of the planets and the behavior of terrestrial objects falling freely near the surface of the earth are due to the same force of gravity and conform to the same laws of motion was a physical unification in this sense.

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