Philosophy of Science 62 (1):1-20 (1995)
AbstractScientists employ a variety of procedures to eliminate degrees of freedom from computationally and/or analytically intractable equations. In the process, they often construct new models and discover new concepts, laws and functional relations. I argue these procedures embody a central notion of reduction, namely, the containment of one structure within another. However, their inclusion in the philosophical concept of reduction necessitates a reevaluation of many standard assumptions about the ontological, epistemological and functional features of a reduction. On the basis of the reevaluation, I advocate a continuum of reduction which proceeds from the eliminative to the constructive. The metaphysical aspects of theory use in constructive reductions are sketched.
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Citations of this work
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