Gerhard Schurz-Understanding and Unification

According to a widespread idea in the philosophy of science, the main goal of

explanations in science is to provide understanding of the empirical phenomena,

and they do this by unifying them, that is, by reducing a variety

of phenomena to a few basic principles plus antecedent conditions. To give a

satisfying explication of the concept of unification, however, has turned out to

be rather difficult. In the first part of the talk I speak about the relation between the conceptions of

understanding and unification. In the second part I outline the account of unification that has been

developed in Schurz/Lambert (994) and Schurz (1999) and demonstrate its applications.