About this topic
Summary Reductionism is a family of ontological, epistemological, methodological, linguistic, and explanatory views that apply to areas of science, mathematics, logic, and philosophy. Here the focus is upon reductionism in the sciences. The term “reductionism” suggests different concepts to different individuals, yet there are some common themes. Thus, reductionism in ontology typically involves a simplification in terms of what is more fundamental, ultimately the things in basic physics. Moreover, this simplification is typically achieved by means of unifying relations such as identity or composition or constitution, which contrast with the non-unifying attitudes of replacement or elimination if one thinks that the ontology of a special science does not reduce. Furthermore, the unifying relations might hold between partial or full domains of objects designated by the pertinent sciences, say, a partial reduction of special science properties but not the properties of phenomenal consciousness, or a partial reduction of particulars (for token reduction) but not all their properties (for type reduction). As well, the subsequent versions of partial and full reductionism may apply to various fields of science, such as the social sciences, or cognitive science, or biology. Finally, these many versions of reductionism contrast with nonreductive views regarding the objects or entities described in the sciences, such as ideas about emergence, supervenience, and realization.
Key works Traditional ideas from logical positivism set the stage for discussions of reduction in the philosophy of science (Nagel 1961; Sklar 1967). Then a post-positivist age of non-reductionism began, with important work on machine functionalism in the philosophy of mind by Hilary Putnam (Putnam 1975) and the autonomy of special sciences by Jerry Fodor (Fodor 1974). Since that time there has been a natural ebb and flow between opposing views on reductionism. For example, there are debates over how best to understand the reduction of a scientific theory, including discussion of the new wave Churchland-Hooker model (see Bickle 1998; cf. Endicott 1998), and functional-role-occupant reduction (Kim 1998; cf. Marras 2002). As well, there is much interest in the apparent reductively resistant aspects of consciousness (Chalmers 1996; Alter & Walter 2006). Also, there is much interest in mechanistic explanations that emphasize their multiple-level integrity as opposed to a pure physical-level explanation (Machamer et al 2000; Craver 2007). Finally, there are good surveys on the choice between reduction and alternatives such as emergence (Beckermann et al 1992; van Gulick 2001) as well as different perspectives on the reductive type identity theory (Gozzano & Hill 2012).
Introductions Van Riel, R., and Van Gulick, R. (2019). “Scientific Reduction.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Edward N. Zalta (ed.),
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  1. Reducing the Dauer Larva: molecular models of biological phenomena in Caenorhabditis elegans research.Arciszewski Michal - manuscript
    One important aspect of biological explanation is detailed causal modeling of particular phenomena in limited experimental background conditions. Recognising this allows a new avenue for intertheoretic reduction to be seen. Reductions in biology are possible, when one fully recognises that a sufficient condition for a reduction in biology is a molecular model of 1) only the demonstrated causal parameters of a biological model and 2) only within a replicable experimental background. These intertheoretic identifications –which are ubiquitous in biology and form (...)
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  2. Emergence: Postulates and candidates.Paul Hoyningen-Huene & Simon Lohse - 2010
    In the first part of this article we will formulate postulates, which must be satisfied by a reasonable concept of emergence. The postulates will articulate conditions of adequacy for an appropriate explication of the concept of emergence. These conditions of adequacy are based primarily upon the philosophical and scientific history of the concept of emergence, in which the intended role of the concept is expressed. In the second part we will discuss and evaluate some candidates for the concept of emergence (...)
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  3. Electronegativity as a New Case for Emergence and a New Problem for Reductionism.Monte Cairns - forthcoming - Foundations of Chemistry:1-16.
    The potential reducibility of chemical entities to their physical bases is a matter of dispute between ontological reductionists on one hand, and emergentists on the other. However, relevant debates typically revolve around the reducibility of so-called ‘higher-level’ chemical entities, such as molecules. Perhaps surprisingly, even committed proponents of emergence for these higher-level chemical entities appear to accept that the ‘lowest-level’ chemical entities – atomic species – are reducible to their physical bases. In particular, the microstructural view of chemical elements, actively (...)
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  4. The naturalistic case for free will.Christian List - forthcoming - In Stavros Ioannidis, Gal Vishne, Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker (eds.), Levels of Reality in Science and Philosophy. Cham: Springer.
    The aim of this expository paper is to give an informal overview of a plausible naturalistic case for free will. I will describe what I take to be the main naturalistically motivated challenges for free will and respond to them by presenting an indispensability argument for free will. The argument supports the reality of free will as an emergent higher-level phenomenon. I will also explain why the resulting picture of free will does not conflict with the possibility that the fundamental (...)
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  5. Who's afraid of common knowledge?Giorgio Sbardolini - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    Some arguments against the assumption that ordinary people may share common knowledge are sound. The apparent cost of such arguments is the rejection of scientific theories that appeal to common knowledge. My proposal is to accept the arguments without rejecting the theories. On my proposal, common knowledge is shared by ideally rational people, who are not just mathematically simple versions of ordinary people. They are qualitatively different from us, and theorizing about them does not lead to predictions about our behavior. (...)
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  6. Ontology, Complexity, and Compositionality.Michael Strevens - forthcoming - In Matthew Slater & Zanja Yudell (eds.), Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science: New Essays. Oxford University Press.
    Sciences of complex systems thrive on compositional theories – toolkits that allow the construction of models of a wide range of systems, each consisting of various parts put together in different ways. To be tractable, a compositional theory must make shrewd choices about the parts and properties that constitute its basic ontology. One such choice is to decompose a system into spatiotemporally discrete parts. Compositional theories in the high-level sciences follow this rule of thumb to a certain extent, but they (...)
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  7. Clarifying the Relation Between Mechanistic Explanations and Reductionism.Mark Couch - 2023 - Frontiers in Psychology 14:984949.
    The topic of mechanistic explanation in neuroscience has been a subject of recent discussion. There is a lot of interest in understanding what these explanations involve. Furthermore, there is disagreement about whether neurological mechanisms themselves should be viewed as reductionist in nature. In this paper I will explain how these two issues are related. I will, first, describe how mechanisms support a form of antireductionism. This is because the mechanisms that exist should be seen as involving part-whole relations, where the (...)
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  8. On religious practices as multi-scale active inference: Certainties emerging from recurrent interactions within and across individuals and groups.Inês Hipólito & Casper Hesp - 2023 - In Robert Vinten (ed.), Wittgenstein and the Cognitive Science of Religion. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 179-198.
    This chapter takes inspiration from Wittgenstein’s thinking to formulate a non-reductive toolbox for the study of religion associated with generative modelling, specifically as applied in complex adaptive systems theory. It converges on a communal perspective on religion as multiscale active inference that contrasts starkly with common ‘straw person’ perspectives on religion that reduce it to ‘erroneous’ theorising generated by the brain. In contrast, we argue, religious practices at the enculturated level of description involve implicit and explicit meanings, experienced both individually (...)
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  9. Functionalism, Reductionism, and Levels of Reality.Lorenzo Lorenzetti - 2023 - Philosophy of Science:1-26.
    I consider a problem for functional reductionism, based on the following tension. Say that b is functionally reduced to a. On the one hand, a and b turn out to be identical, and identity is a symmetric relation. On the other hand, functional reductionism implies that a and b are asymmetrically related: if b is functionally reduced to a, then a is not functionally reduced to b. Thus, we ask: how can a and b be asymmetrically related if they are (...)
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  10. Vitalism.André Ariew & Gesiel Da Silva - 2022 - In The SAGE Encyclopedia of Theory in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications. pp. 940-944.
  11. Emergence in context: a treatise in twenty-first century natural philosophy.Robert C. Bishop - 2022 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. Edited by Michael Silberstein & Mark Pexton.
    Science, philosophy of science, and metaphysics have long been concerned with the question of how novel things emerge. How can order come out of disorder? This book introduces a new account, contextual emergence, seeking to answer such questions."--Back cover.
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  12. Typen-Reduktionismus trotz multipler Realisierbarkeit.Johannes Heinle - 2022
    Ein Typen-Reduktionismus wird entworfen und gegen die größten Herausforderungen im Zusammenhang mit (i) der multiplen Realisierbarkeit von funktionalen Eigenschaften, (ii) dem phänomenalen und propositionalem Gehalt von einigen mentalen Eigenschaften und (iii) der Nicht-Lokalität der Quantenphysik, wie sie insbesondere durch die experimentelle Verletzung der Bellschen Ungleichungen nahegelegt wird, verteidigt.
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  13. Multi-Descriptional Physicalism, Level(s) of Being, and the Mind-Body Problem.Savvas Ioannou - 2022 - Dissertation, University of St. Andrews
    The main idea of this thesis is multi-descriptional physicalism. According to it, only physical entities are elements of our ontology, and there are different ways to describe them. Higher-level vocabularies (e.g., mental, neurological, biological) truly describe reality. Sentences about higher-level entities are made true by physical entities. Every chapter will develop multi-descriptional physicalism or defend it from objections. In chapter 1, I will propose a new conceptual reductive account that conceptually reduces higher-level entities to physical entities. This conceptual reductive account (...)
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  14. Davidson on Pure Intending: A Non-Reductionist Judgement-Dependent Account.Ali Hossein Khani - 2022 - Dialogue 61 (2):369-391.
    RésuméJe soutiendrai que la façon dont Davidson rend compte de l'intention pure peut être comprise comme une analyse de l'intention comme étant relative à un jugement dans une perspective en première personne. Selon Davidson, avoir la pure intention de faire A, c'est formuler un jugement tout bien considéré qu'il est désirable de faire A. Dans cette analyse anti-réductionniste, l'intention est traitée comme un état irréductible du sujet. J’établirai une comparaison entre cette analyse et celle de Wright et je montrerai comment (...)
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  15. How to minimize ontological commitments: a grounding-reductive approach.Reuben Sass - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):1-22.
    Some revisionary ontologies are highly parsimonious: they posit far fewer entities than what we quantify over in ordinary discourse. The most radical examples are minimal ontologies, on which physical simples are the only things that exist. Highly parsimonious ontologies, and especially minimal ones, face the challenge of either accounting for the truth of our ordinary quantificational discourse, or paraphrasing such discourse away. Common strategies for addressing this challenge include classical reduction, paraphrase nihilism, and a distinction between ontological and existence commitments. (...)
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  16. Practical conflicts as a problem for epistemic reductionism about practical reasons.Benjamin Kiesewetter & Jan Gertken - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 105 (3):677-686.
    According to epistemic reductionism about practical reasons, facts about practical reasons can be reduced to facts about evidence for ought-judgements. We argue that this view misconstrues practical conflicts. At least some conflicts between practical reasons put us in a position to know that an action ϕ is optional, i.e. that we neither ought to perform nor ought to refrain from performing the action. By understanding conflicts of practical reasons as conflicts of evidence about what one ought to do, epistemic reductionism (...)
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  17. Unity of Science.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2021 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Unity of science was once a very popular idea among both philosophers and scientists. But it has fallen out of fashion, largely because of its association with reductionism and the challenge from multiple realisation. Pluralism and the disunity of science are the new norm, and higher-level natural kinds and special science laws are considered to have an important role in scientific practice. What kind of reductionism does multiple realisability challenge? What does it take to reduce one phenomenon to another? How (...)
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  18. Consciencia de si e identidad personal, relación olvidada por Parfit.Javier Enrique Castillo Vallez - 2021 - Otrosiglo 5 (2):134-157.
    En este artículo se plantea una reconsideración de la elección del reduccionismo de Parfit en Razones y personas como la posición que mejor explica el vínculo de dos sucesos mentales separados en el tiempo. Sin embargo, veremos cómo Parfit basa dicha elección en la consideración de la noción de persona como una sustancia, lo que en principio deja fuera cualquier otra perspectiva. El problema aparece cuando éste no considera apropiadamente el origen histórico de la pregunta en Locke, donde la noción (...)
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  19. A mechanism that realizes strong emergence.J. H. van Hateren - 2021 - Synthese 199:12463-12483.
    The causal efficacy of a material system is usually thought to be produced by the law-like actions and interactions of its constituents. Here, a specific system is constructed and explained that produces a cause that cannot be understood in this way, but instead has novel and autonomous efficacy. The construction establishes a proof-of-feasibility of strong emergence. The system works by utilizing randomness in a targeted and cyclical way, and by relying on sustained evolution by natural selection. It is not vulnerable (...)
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  20. Multiple Realization in Systems Biology.Wesley Fang - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (4):663–684.
    Polger and Shapiro (2016) claim that unlike human-made artifacts cases of multiple realization in naturally occurring systems are uncommon. Drawing on cases from systems biology, I argue that multiple realization in naturally occurring systems is not as uncommon as Polger and Shapiro initially thought. The relevant cases, which I draw from systems biology, involve generalizable design principles called network motifs which recur in different organisms and species and perform specific functions. I show that network motifs with entirely different underlying causal (...)
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  21. Friedrich Engels: Emergenz und Dialektik.Kaan Kangal - 2020 - Widerspruch 70:43-56.
  22. Techniques of Bridging the Gulf: Dialectic and Reductionism in McDowell and Fichte.Jens Lemanski - 2020 - Edukacja Filozoficzna 69 (1):7-36.
    “Dialectic” has been a matter of growing interest in contemporary philosophy. The present article analyzes dialectical methods and positions them by reference to two paradigmatic texts of German idealism and analytic philosophy, i.e. J.G. Fichte’s Science of Knowing (1804) and J. McDowell’s Mind and World. Both dialectical approaches will be interpreted with regard to their contribution in the debate on reductionism and anti-reductionism: both Fichte and McDowell claim that philosophical positions and logical terms stand in a dualistic relationship to one (...)
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  23. Génie logiciel et ontologies.Ivan Maffezzini - 2020 - Mεtascience: Discours Général Scientifique 1:137-157.
    La description en langue naturelle est l’artefact permettant de débuter un processus d’automatisation. La tâche principale de l’ingénieur du logiciel, c’est de combler le clivage entre langue naturelle et langue de la machine. Après avoir présenté quelques ontologies définies pour les processus d’automatisation, quelques pour et quelques contre l’emploi d’ontologies dans le génie logiciel sont présentées. Des indications pour dépasser cette simple opposition sont ensuite décrites. Des évaluations sur le réductionnisme dans les ontologies en ce qui concerne les possibles interactions (...)
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  24. Multiple Realizability from a Causal Perspective.Lauren N. Ross - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (4):640-662.
    This article examines the multiple realizability thesis within a causal framework. The beginnings of this framework are found in Elliott Sober’s “Multiple Realizability Argument against Reduction,”...
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  25. Reseña de ‘Soy un Bucle Extraño’ ( I am a Strange Loop) de Douglas Hofstadter (2007) (reseña revisado 2019).Michael Richard Starks - 2020 - In Comprender las Conexiones entre Ciencia, Filosofía, Psicología, Religión, Política, Economía, Historia y Literatura - Artículos y reseñas 2006-2019. Las Vegas, NV USA: Reality Press. pp. 265-282.
    Último sermón de la iglesia del naturalismo fundamentalista por el pastor Hofstadter. Al igual que su mucho más famoso (o infame por sus incesantemente errores filosóficos) trabajo Godel, Escher, Bach, tiene una plausibilidad superficial, pero si se entiende que se trata de un científico rampante que mezcla problemas científicos reales con los filosóficos (es decir, el sólo los problemas reales son los juegos de idiomas que debemos jugar) entonces casi todo su interés desaparece. Proporciono un marco para el análisis basado (...)
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  26. Саентизм на стероидах: Oбзор “свободы Эволюции” ( Freedom Evolves) by Daniel Dennett (2003) (обзор пересмотрен 2019).Michael Richard Starks - 2020 - In ДОБРО ПОЖАЛОВАТЬ В АД НА НАШЕМ МИРЕ : Дети, Изменение климата, Биткойн, Картели, Китай, Демократия, Разнообразие, Диссигеника, Равенство, Хакеры, Права человека, Ислам, Либерализм, Процветание, Сеть, Хаос, Голод, Болезнь, Насилие, Искусственный интелле. Las Vegas, NV USA: Reality Press. pp. 94-110.
    "Люди говорят снова и снова, что философия на самом деле не прогресс, что мы по-прежнему заняты теми же философскими проблемами, что и греки. Но люди, которые говорят это, не понимают, почему это должно быть так. Это потому, что наш язык остался прежним и продолжает соблазнять нас задавать те же вопросы. До тех пор, пока по-прежнему существует глагол, который выглядит так, как будто он функционирует так же, как «есть и пить», до тех пор, пока у нас есть прилагательные «идентично», «правда» ( (...)
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  27. Where Do You Get Your Protein? Or: Biochemical Realization.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (3):799-825.
    Biochemical kinds such as proteins pose interesting problems for philosophers of science, as they can be studied from the points of view of both biology and chemistry. The relationship between the biological functions of biochemical kinds and the microstructures that they are related to is the key question. This leads us to a more general discussion about ontological reductionism, microstructuralism, and multiple realization at the biology-chemistry interface. On the face of it, biochemical kinds seem to pose a challenge for ontological (...)
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  28. The Correlation Argument for Reductionism.Christopher Clarke - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (1):76-97.
    Reductionists say things like: all mental properties are physical properties; all normative properties are natural properties. I argue that the only way to resist reductionism is to deny that causation is difference making (thus making the epistemology of causation a mystery) or to deny that properties are individuated by their causal powers (thus making properties a mystery). That is to say, unless one is happy to deny supervenience, or to trivialize the debate over reductionism. To show this, I argue that (...)
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  29. Each Thing Is Fundamental: Against Hylomorphism and Hierarchical Structure.M. Oreste Fiocco - 2019 - American Philosophical Quarterly 56 (3):289-301.
    Each thing is fundamental. Not only is no thing any more or less real than any other, but no thing is prior to another in any robust ontological sense. Thus, no thing can explain the very existence of another, nor account for how another is what it is. I reach this surprising conclusion by undermining two important positions in contemporary metaphysics: hylomorphism and hierarchical views employing so-called building relations, such as grounding. The paper has three main parts. First, I observe (...)
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  30. Einheit und Vielfalt in den Wissenschaften.Michael Klasen & Markus Seidel (eds.) - 2019 - Berlin: De Gruyter.
    Universitäten weisen als institutioneller Inbegriff von Wissenschaft eine immense Fächervielfalt auf. Doch was hält diese Vielfalt der Wissenschaften zusammen, und was sind deren jeweiligen Besonderheiten? Ist es überhaupt sinnvoll, solch unterschiedliche Forschungsbereiche wie zum Beispiel die Koptologie und die Materialphysik nach ähnlichen Standards zu bewerten und zu vergleichen? Ist solch eine Vielfalt notwendig für den Erkenntnisfortschritt oder eher ein Hemmnis, das es zu überwinden gilt? Wie hängen die Theorien, Methoden und Gegenstandsbereiche der verschiedenen Disziplinen miteinander zusammen – haben die Disziplinen (...)
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  31. Causal Explanation in Psychiatry.Tuomas K. Pernu - 2019 - In Şerife Tekin & Robyn Bluhm (eds.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Philosophy of Psychiatry. London: Bloomsbury Academic.
  32. Psychiatry's Problem with Reductionism.Rebecca Roache - 2019 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 26 (3):219-229.
    Psychiatry uncomfortably spans biological, psychological, and social perspectives on mental illness. As a branch of medicine, psychiatry is under pressure to conform to a biomedical model, according to which diseases are characterized primarily in biological terms. But psychiatry also draws on the psychotherapeutic tradition, which explains mental distress in terms of life experience and social influences.These approaches ought to complement each other, but historically this has not happened. With no theory creating global, systematic links between the two approaches, psychiatry is (...)
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  33. Reduction as an a posteriori Relation.Joshua Rosaler - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (1):269-299.
    Reduction between theories in physics is often approached as an a priori relation in the sense that reduction is often taken to depend only on a comparison of the mathematical structures of two theories. I argue that such approaches fail to capture one crucial sense of “reduction,” whereby one theory encompasses the set of real behaviors that are well-modeled by the other. Reduction in this sense depends not only on the mathematical structures of the theories, but also on empirical facts (...)
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  34. A Philosophical Analysis of the Relation between Chemistry and Quantum Mechanics.Vanessa Seifert - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Bristol
    This thesis investigates the epistemological and metaphysical relations between chemistry and quantum mechanics. These relations are examined with respect to how chemistry and quantum mechanics each describe a single inert molecule. A review of how these relations are understood in the literature shows that there is a proliferation of positions which focus on how chemistry is separate from quantum mechanics. This proliferation is accompanied by a tendency within the philosophy of chemistry community to connect the legitimacy of the field with (...)
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  35. La Estructura Lógica de la Filosofía Psicología, Sociología, Antropología Religión, Política, Economía Literatura e Historia Artículos y reseñas 2006-2019 5ª Edicion.Michael Richard Starks - 2019 - Las Vegas, NV USA: Reality Press.
    Es mi afirmación que la tabla de intencionalidad (racionalidad, mente, pensamiento, lenguaje, personalidad, etc.) que presenta prominentemente aquí describe más o menos con precisión, o al menos sirve como heurística para, cómo pensamos y nos comportamos, y por lo tanto no abarca simplemente filosofía y psicología, sino todo lo demás (historia, literatura, matemáticas, política, etc.). Tenga en cuenta especialmente que la intencionalidad y racionalidad como yo (junto con Searle, Wittgenstein y otros) lo veo, incluye tanto el Sistema Linguístico deliberativo consciente (...)
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  36. Intertheoretic Reduction, Confirmation, and Montague’s Syntax-Semantics Relation.Kristina Liefke & Stephan Hartmann - 2018 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 27 (4):313-341.
    Intertheoretic relations are an important topic in the philosophy of science. However, since their classical discussion by Ernest Nagel, such relations have mostly been restricted to relations between pairs of theories in the natural sciences. This paper presents a case study of a new type of intertheoretic relation that is inspired by Montague’s analysis of the linguistic syntax-semantics relation. The paper develops a simple model of this relation. To motivate the adoption of our new model, we show that this model (...)
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  37. Online Overview Article: Reductionism.Jan G. Michel - 2018 - SDA, Digital Humanities Project, Oxford University.
  38. Ethical Reductionism.Neil Sinhababu - 2018 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 13 (1):32-52.
    Ethical reductionism is the best version of naturalistic moral realism. Reductionists regard moral properties as identical to properties appearing in successful scientific theories. Nonreductionists, including many of the Cornell Realists, argue that moral properties instead supervene on scientific properties without identity. I respond to two arguments for nonreductionism. First, nonreductionists argue that the multiple realizability of moral properties defeats reductionism. Multiple realizability can be addressed in ethics by identifying moral properties uniquely or disjunctively with properties of the special sciences. Second, (...)
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  39. Intentionality contra Physicalism.Dallas Willard & Brandon Rickabaugh - 2018 - Philosophia Christi 20 (2):497-515.
    We argue for the mind’s independence from the body. We do so by making several moves. First, we analyze two popular kinds of reasons which have swayed many to adopt the independence of the mind from the body. Second, we advance an argument from the ontology of intentionality against the identity thesis, according to which the mind is identical to the brain. We try to show how intentionality is not reducible to or identical to the physical. Lastly, we argue that, (...)
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  40. The future of the reduction and emergence debate?: Carl Gillett: Reduction and emergence in science and philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016, 389 pp, £64.99 HB.Petri Ylikoski - 2018 - Metascience 27 (2):317-321.
  41. Charles T. Wolfe. Materialism: A Historico-Philosophical Introduction. Dordrecht: Springer, 2016. Pp. ix+134. $54.99.Noga Arikha - 2017 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 7 (2):386-391.
  42. How to define levels of explanation and evaluate their indispensability.Christopher Clarke - 2017 - Synthese 194 (6).
    Some explanations in social science, psychology and biology belong to a higher level than other explanations. And higher explanations possess the virtue of abstracting away from the details of lower explanations, many philosophers argue. As a result, these higher explanations are irreplaceable. And this suggests that there are genuine higher laws or patterns involving social, psychological and biological states. I show that this ‘abstractness argument’ is really an argument schema, not a single argument. This is because the argument uses the (...)
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  43. Explanatory Pluralism: An Unrewarding Prediction Error for Free Energy Theorists.Matteo Colombo & Cory Wright - 2017 - Brain and Cognition 112:3–12.
    Courtesy of its free energy formulation, the hierarchical predictive processing theory of the brain (PTB) is often claimed to be a grand unifying theory. To test this claim, we examine a central case: activity of mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic (DA) systems. After reviewing the three most prominent hypotheses of DA activity—the anhedonia, incentive salience, and reward prediction error hypotheses—we conclude that the evidence currently vindicates explanatory pluralism. This vindication implies that the grand unifying claims of advocates of PTB are unwarranted. More generally, (...)
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  44. Two Dogmas of Biology.Leonore Fleming - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (2).
    The problem with reductionism in biology is not the reduction, but the implicit attitude of determinism that usually accompanies it. Methodological reductionism is supported by deterministic beliefs, but making such a connection is problematic when it is based on an idea of determinism as fixed predictability. Conflating determinism with predictability gives rise to inaccurate models that overlook the dynamic complexity of our world, as well as ignore our epistemic limitations when we try to model it. Furthermore, the assumption of a (...)
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  45. Against Neuroscience Imperialism.Roberto Fumagalli - 2017 - In Uskali Mäki, Adrian Walsh & Manuela Fernández Pinto (eds.), Scientific Imperialism: Exploring the Boundaries of Interdisciplinarity. pp. 205-223.
    In recent years, several authors advocated neuroscience imperialism, an instance of scientific imperialism whereby neuroscience methods and findings are systematically applied to model and explain phenomena investigated by other disciplines. Calls for neuroscience imperialism target a wide range of disciplines, including psychology, economics, and philosophy. To date, however, neuroscience imperialism has not received detailed attention by philosophers, and the debate concerning its identification and normative assessment is relatively underdeveloped. In this paper, I aim to remedy this situation by making some (...)
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  46. The Sum of the Parts: Large-Scale Modeling in Systems Biology.Fridolin Gross & Sara Green - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (10).
    Systems biologists often distance themselves from reductionist approaches and formulate their aim as understanding living systems “as a whole.” Yet, it is often unclear what kind of reductionism they have in mind, and in what sense their methodologies would offer a superior approach. To address these questions, we distinguish between two types of reductionism which we call “modular reductionism” and “bottom-up reductionism.” Much knowledge in molecular biology has been gained by decomposing living systems into functional modules or through detailed studies (...)
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  47. ¿Es posible la reducción epistemológica? Todo sistema necesita presupuestos extra-sistémicos.José V. Orón & Javier Sánchez-Cañizares - 2017 - Anuario Filosófico 50 (3):601-617.
    Is an epistemological reduction strictly possible? Scientific methodology claims that a boundary separating the system from the “extra-system” can be defi ned. However, no system defi nes its own limits: rather, every system needs extra-systemic presuppositions that are defi ned from outside the system. In this article, we show how various areas of knowledge presuppose the presence of an extra-systemic reality that provides meaning: to know any system, knowledge of the “extra-system” is also necessary.
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  48. A proposed taxonomy of eliminativism.Bernardo Pino - 2017 - Co-herencia 14 (27):181-213.
    In this paper, I propose a general taxonomy of different forms of eliminativism. In order to do so, I begin by exploring eliminativism from a broad perspective, providing a comparative picture of eliminativist projects in different domains. This exploration shows that eliminativism is a label used for a family of related types of eliminativist arguments and claims. The proposed taxonomy is an attempt to systematise those arguments and claims.
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  49. Are Causal Facts Really Explanatorily Emergent? Ladyman and Ross on Higher-level Causal Facts and Renormalization Group Explanation.Alexander Reutlinger - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2291-2305.
    In their Every Thing Must Go, Ladyman and Ross defend a novel version of Neo- Russellian metaphysics of causation, which falls into three claims: (1) there are no fundamental physical causal facts (orthodox Russellian claim), (2) there are higher-level causal facts of the special sciences, and (3) higher-level causal facts are explanatorily emergent. While accepting claims (1) and (2), I attack claim (3). Ladyman and Ross argue that higher-level causal facts are explanatorily emergent, because (a) certain aspects of these higher-level (...)
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  50. Foundation of statistical mechanics: Mechanics by itself.Orly Shenker - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (12):e12465.
    Statistical mechanics is a strange theory. Its aims are debated, its methods are contested, its main claims have never been fully proven, and their very truth is challenged, yet at the same time, it enjoys huge empirical success and gives us the feeling that we understand important phenomena. What is this weird theory, exactly? Statistical mechanics is the name of the ongoing attempt to apply mechanics, together with some auxiliary hypotheses, to explain and predict certain phenomena, above all those described (...)
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