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"Unification and the Element of Surprise"

Time: Thu 2022-12-08 13.00 - 14.45

Location: Greater seminar room, Division of Historical Studies, Teknikringen 4D, floor 5.

Participating: Professor Richard Dawid

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Unification and the Element of Surprise

Abstract: There is a long-standing debate on the question to what extent unification generates confirmation value. One main position, represented by Wayne Myrvold, asserts that confirmation value is only generated if the unifying theory renders seemingly distinct phenomena informationally relevant for each other. Michel Jansen, to the contrary, argues that explanatory power provided by unification generates confirmation value. In this talk, we will propose a different take on the issue. From the proposed perspective, the element of surprise when finding a unified theory plays a central role in increasing credence in that theory. The presented approach attributes confirmation value to a wider range of unification cases than Myrvold but is more constraining than Jansen.

The talk is based work in progress with Elena Castellani and Radin Dardashti.