Journal for General Philosophy of Science

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 143–150 | Cite as

Do Renormalization Group Explanations Conform to the Commonality Strategy?

  • Alexander ReutlingerEmail author


Renormalization group (RG) explanations account for the astonishing phenomenon that microscopically very different physical systems display the same macro-behavior when undergoing phase-transitions. Among philosophers, this explanandum phenomenon is often described as the occurrence of a particular kind of multiply realized macro-behavior. In several recent publications, Robert Batterman denies that RG explanations account for this explanandum phenomenon by following (what I call) the commonality strategy, i.e. by identifying properties that microscopically very different physical systems have in common. Arguing against Batterman’s claim, I defend the view that RG explanations are in accord with the commonality strategy.


Scientific explanation Multiple realization Universality Renormalization group explanation Statistical physics 



I would like to thank Juha Saatsi, Markus Schrenk, and an audience in Leeds for their feedback. I am also grateful for receiving a fellowship from the Durham emergence project.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LMU Munich, Munich Center for Mathematical PhilosophieMunichGermany

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