Paragraph about Scientific software
The winner-take-all conception gives up on the apparently very natural idea, which one would think that the unificationist would wish to endorse, that an explanation can provide less unification than some alternative, and hence be less deep or less good, but still qualify as somewhat explanatory. However, Kitcher's treatment of the problems of explanatory irrelevance and explanatory asymmetry seems to require just this conception. Why is it that we cannot appeal to the fact that this particular sample of salt has been hexed to explain why it dissolves? Scientific software According to Kitcher, any explanatory store containing a generalization about the dissolving of hexed salt will be “less unified” than a competing explanatory store according to which the dissolving of the salt is explained by appeal to the generalization that all salt dissolves in water. Similarly, the reason why we cannot explain the height of a flagpole in terms of the length of its shadow is that explanations of lengths of objects in terms of facts about shadows do not belong to the “set of explanations” which “collectively provides the best systemization of our beliefs”. (1989, p. 430). This analysis clearly requires the winner-take-all idea that an explanation T1 that is less satisfactory mathlab from the point of view of unification than some competing alternative T2 is unexplanatory, rather than merely less explanatory than T2. If Kitcher were to reject the winner take all idea and hold instead that even if T2 is more unified than T1, it does not automatically follow that T1 is unexplanatory, then his solution to the problems of explanatory irrelevance and asymmetry would no longer be available: his conclusion should be that an “explanation” of Mr. Jones' failure to get pregnant in terms of his ingestion of birth control pills is genuinely explanatory, although less so than the alternative explanation that invokes his gender, and similarly for a derivation of the height of a flagpole from the length of its shadow.