Reductive levels and multi-scale structure

Synthese 165 (1):53 - 75 (2008)
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Abstract

I discuss arguments about the relationship between different “levels” of explanation in the light of examples involving multi-scale analysis. I focus on arguments about causal competition between properties at different levels, such as Jaegwon Kim’s “supervenience argument.” A central feature of Kim’s argument is that higher-level properties can in general be identified with “micro-based” properties. I argue that explanations from multi-scale analysis give examples of explanations that are problematic for accounts such as Kim’s. I argue that these difficulties suggest that some standard assumptions about causal competition need to be revised

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2009-01-28

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Patrick McGivern
University of Wollongong

Citations of this work

The Unity of Science.Jordi Cat - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
How to Make Reflectance a Surface Property.Nicholas Danne - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 70:19-27.
Two Conceptions of Fundamentality.Mariam Thalos - 2011 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 41 (2):151-177.

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References found in this work

How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Physicalism, or Something Near Enough.Jaegwon Kim - 2005 - Princeton University Press.
Unity of Science as a Working Hypothesis.Paul Oppenheim & Hilary Putnam - 1958 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 2:3-36.

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