Kitcher’s Explanatory Unification, Kaluza-Klein Theories, and the Normative Aspect of Higher Dimensional Unification in Physics

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Abstract

I examine the relation between explanation and unification in both the original Kaluza–Klein theory, which originated in the works of Theodor Kaluza and Oskar Klein in the 1920s, and in the modern Kaluza–Klein theories which date back to the late 1970s and which are still considered by the majority of the physics community to be the best hope for a complete unified theory of all fundamental interactions. I use the conclusions of this case study to assess the merits of Philip Kitcher’s account of explanation as unification. I also draw lessons about physicists’ pursuit of the higher dimensional unification of the fundamental forces of nature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-312
JournalBritish Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Volume63
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes

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