A newly emerged field within economics, known as geographical economics, claims to have provided a unified approach to the study of spatial agglomerations at different spatial scales by showing how these can be traced back to the same basic economic mechanisms. We analyse this contemporary episode of explanatory unification in relation to major philosophical accounts of unification. In particular, we examine the role of argument patterns in unifying derivations, the role of ontological convictions and mathematical structures in shaping unification, the distinction between derivational and ontological unification, the issue of how explanation and unification relate, and finally the idea that unification comes in degrees.

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doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsa.2009.03.015, hdl.handle.net/1765/71541
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A
Erasmus School of Philosophy

Mäki, U., & Marchionni, C. (2009). On the structure of explanatory unification: the case of geographical economics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A, 40(2), 185–195. doi:10.1016/j.shpsa.2009.03.015