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Summary

The subject of interlevel relations concerns the connection between items described by the different sciences, from fundamental-level physics to high-level human sciences. Philosophers analyze these relations in terms of concepts like reduction, or emergence, or supervenience, or realization. The subject is essential to any broad picture of the sciences and the world. 

Key works Most of the works in philosophy divide along the aforementioned views. For reduction, important ideas includes reduction as a derivation by bridge principles (Nagel 1961), approximate reduction (Schaffner 1967), an expanded continuum of strong to weak reduction that advertises no bridge laws (Churchland 1979; Hooker 1981; Bickle 1997), compositional or mechanistic reduction (Wimsatt 1976; Rosenberg 2006; Bechtel 2007), and functional reduction (Kim 1998). For emergence, there are views that involve epistemic, metaphysical, synchronic, and diachronic ideas (McLaughlin 1992; Wimsatt 1997; Humphreys 2008), as well as issues about actual cases in the sciences (Batterman 2002; Davies 2006). For supervenience, there are weak, strong, global, and mereological varieties (Kim 1993; Horgan 1993; McLaughlin 1995), as well as debates over their significance for issues of explanation and dependence (Grimes 1988; Bennett 2004) and their adequacy to express a doctrine of physicalism (Wilson 2005). For realization, the are accounts in terms of parts and wholes (Cummins 1983; Gillett 2002), functional roles and occupation (Papineau 1993; Melnyk 1994; Kim 1998), determinables and determinates (Macdonald & Macdonald 1986; Yablo 1992), and subsets of causal powers (Wilson 1999, 2011; Shoemaker 2001, 2007). There are also questions about the resulting broad picture of the sciences and how it is unified (Oppenheim & Putnam 1958; Rosenberg 1994).
Introductions Some works have a fairly broad scope, encompassing several of the views just mentioned. See Beckermann et al 1992; van Gulick 2001; and Kim 2003.
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  1. Takehisa Abe & Fusako Kobayashi (2002). Eastern Determinism Reconsidered From a Scientific Point of View. In Harald Atmanspacher & Robert C. Bishop (eds.), Between Chance and Choice: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Determinism. Thorverton Uk: Imprint Academic. 485.
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  2. David Barnett (2002). Hempel On Intertheoretic Reduction Winner Of The Gerritt And Edith Schipper Undergraduate Award For Outstanding Undergraduate Paper. Florida Philosophical Review 2 (1):26-40.
    The question of whether all living things are really just complex physical ones, or whether instead there are biological entities or characteristics that cannot be fully characterized in physical terms, has historical roots buried centuries deep. Carl Hempel considers this question as an empirical one for modern science to address. Hempel’s concern is not with the answer to the question, but rather with the methods by which it may be evaluated. He considers the position of those he calls “mechanists,” that (...)
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  3. William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen (2008). From Reduction Back to Higher Levels. In B. C. Love, K. McRae & V. M. Sloutsky (eds.), Proceedings of the 30th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Cognitive Science Society. 559--564.
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  4. Sara Bernstein (2015). The Metaphysics of Omissions. Philosophy Compass 10 (3):208-218.
    Omissions – any events, actions, or things that do not occur – are central to numerous debates in causation and ethics. This article surveys views on what omissions are, whether they are causally efficacious, and how they ground moral responsibility.
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  5. Mark H. Bickhard (2012). 9 The Emergent Ontology of Persons. In Jack Martin & Mark H. Bickhard (eds.), The Psychology of Personhood: Philosophical, Historical, Social-Developmental and Narrative Perspectives. Cambridge University Press. 165.
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  6. Daniel A. Bonevac (1982). Reduction in the Abstract Sciences.
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  7. Fabio Boschetti (2012). Causality, Emergence, Computation and Unreasonable Expectations. Synthese 185 (2):187-194.
    I argue that much of current concern with the role of causality and strong emergence in natural processes is based upon an unreasonable expectation placed on our ability to formalize scientific knowledge. In most disciplines our formalization ability is an expectation rather than a scientific result. This calls for an empirical approach to the study of causation and emergence. Finally, I suggest that for advances in complexity research to occur, attention needs to be paid to understanding what role computation plays (...)
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  8. Alban Bouvier (2011). Individualism, Collective Agency and The “Micro–Macro Relation”. In Ian Jarvie Jesus Zamora Bonilla (ed.), The Sage Handbook of the Philosophy of Social Sciences. 199.
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  9. C. D. Broad (2002). E. Other Psychophysical Relations. In David J. Chalmers (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings. Oxford University Press. 106.
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  10. Richard M. Burian (1993). Unification and Coherence as Methodological Objectives in the Biological Sciences. Biology and Philosophy 8 (3):301-318.
    In this paper I respond to Wim van der Steen''s arguments against the supposed current overemphasis on norms ofcoherence andinterdisciplinary integration in biology. On the normative level, I argue that these aremiddle-range norms which, although they may be misapplied in short-term attempts to solve (temporarily?) intractable problems, play a guiding role in the longer-term treatment of biological problems. This stance is supported by a case study of apartial success story, the development of the one gene — one enzyme hypothesis. As (...)
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  11. Ian Burney, David A. Kirby & Neil Pemberton (2013). Introducing 'Forensic Cultures'. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (1):1-3.
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  12. Robert L. Causey (1981). Reduction and Ontological Unification: Reply to McCauley. Philosophy of Science 48 (2):228-231.
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  13. Robert L. Causey (1976). Identities and Reduction: A Reply. Noûs 10 (3):333-337.
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  14. Anjan Chakravartty (2013). Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum Getting Causes From Powers. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (4):axt007.
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  15. R. M. Chisholm (1991). The Bearers of Psychological Properties. Daimon 3:7.
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  16. F. Cizek (1979). Biology, Physics and Reductionism. Filosoficky Casopis 27 (4):488-503.
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  17. Steve Clarke (1998). Metaphysics and the Disunity of Scientific Knowledge. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
    The central current of ideas in modern philosophy - through Hume, Kant and Hegel, to the present - can be understood as a reaction to the percieved threat of disorder. Against this background, the author argues for acceptance of a metaphysics of disorder, and outlines a number of important philosophical consequences of such an acceptance. When appropriately constrained by empiricist concern, such a metaphysics allows us to make sense of ourselves as as knowers who must make do in a world (...)
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  18. Earl Conee (1982). D. M. Armstrong's "The Nature of Mind and Other Essays". [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 42 (4):622.
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  19. Michael C. Corballis (1988). Psychology's Place in the Science of the Mind/Brain? Biology and Philosophy 3 (3):363-373.
  20. Antonella Corradini (2008). 1. Monism in British Emergentism. In Alessandro Antonietti, Antonella Corradini & E. Jonathan Lowe (eds.), Psycho-Physical Dualism Today: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Lexington Books. 185.
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  21. Marcel Crabbé (1983). On the Reduction of Type Theory. Mathematical Logic Quarterly 29 (4):235-237.
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  22. Carl Frederick Craver (1998). Neural Mechanisms: On the Structure, Function, and Development of Theories in Neurobiology. Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
    Reference to mechanisms is virtually ubiquitous in science and its philosophy. Yet, the concept of a mechanism remains largely unanalyzed; So too for its possible applications in thinking about scientific explanation, experimental practice, and theory structure. This dissertation investigates these issues in the context of contemporary neurobiology. ;The theories of neurobiology are hierarchically organized descriptions of mechanisms that explain functions. Mechanisms are the coordinated activities of entities by virtue of which that function is performed. Since the activities composing mechanisms are (...)
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  23. Suzanne Cunningham (1983). The Nature of Mind and Other Essays. By David M. Armstrong. Modern Schoolman 60 (2):124-125.
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  24. Paul Davies, Emergent Biological Principles and the Computational Properties of the Universe.
    T he term emergence is used to describe the appearance of new properties that arise when a system exceeds a certain level of size or complexity, properties that are absent from the constituents of the system. It is a concept often summed up by the phrase that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” and it is a key notion in the burgeoning field of complexity science. Life is often cited as a classic example of an emergent (...)
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  25. Richard Davnall, The Experiential World.
    There are four positions one might take in respect of the ontological status of the physical world: physicalism, which says that the physical world is ontologically fundamental, and nothing else is; substance dualism, which says that the physical world is ontologically fundamental, but so is the human mental realm, and that these are in some strong metaphysical sense separate; idealism, which says that the physical world is constitutively sustained, at least in part, by facts about the human mental realm; and (...)
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  26. Carlos Ruiz de la Cuesta (2011). Reduction, Supervenience, Emergence and Naturalistic Truth: Reductionism, Holism and the Description of Human Nature. Pensamiento 67 (254):799-804.
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  27. Zoltan Domotor (1982). Reduction of Macrotheories to Micro-Theories. Erkenntnis 17 (1):3 - 21.
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  28. M. V. Dougherty (2012). The Problem of Negligent Omissions. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 86 (1):161-163.
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  29. Janice Dowell, J. L. (2008). Serious Metaphysics and the Vindication of Reductions. Philosophical Studies 139 (1):91 - 110.
    What would be sufficient to show of some apparently higher-level property that it is ‘nothing over and above’ some complex configuration of more basic properties? This paper defends a new method for justifying reductions by demonstrating its comparative advantages over two methods recently defended in the literature. Unlike its rivals, what I’ll call “the semantic method” makes a reduction’s truth epistemically transparent without relying on conceptual analyses.
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  30. Janice Dowell (2008). Serious Metaphysics and the Vindication of Reductions. Philosophical Studies 139 (1):91 - 110.
    What would be sufficient to show of some apparently higher-level property that it is 'nothing over and above' some complex configuration of more basic properties? This paper defends a new method for justifying reductions by demonstrating its comparative advantages over two methods recently defended in the literature. Unlike its rivals, what I'll call "the semantic method" makes a reduction's truth epistemically transparent without relying on conceptual analyses.
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  31. Charles E. M. Dunlop (1983). Kim's “Supervenient Mind”. Southern Journal of Philosophy 21 (1):145-149.
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  32. Reinaldo Elugardo (2004). Skidmore on Properties. Southwest Philosophy Review 20 (2):189-193.
  33. Markus I. Eronen (2013). No Levels, No Problems: Downward Causation in Neuroscience. Philosophy of Science 80 (5):1042-1052.
    I show that the recent account of levels in neuroscience proposed by Craver and Bechtel is unsatisfactory since it fails to provide a plausible criterion for being at the same level and is incompatible with Craver and Bechtel’s account of downward causation. Furthermore, I argue that no distinct notion of levels is needed for analyzing explanations and causal issues in neuroscience: it is better to rely on more well-defined notions such as composition and scale. One outcome of this is that (...)
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  34. Rita Finkbeiner (2012). Emergent Contexts. In Rita Finkbeiner, Jörg Meibauer & Petra Schumacher (eds.), What is a Context?: Linguistic Approaches and Challenges. John Benjamins Pub. Co.. 196--153.
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  35. Bas C. Van Fraassen & Karel Lambert (1967). On Free Description Theory. Mathematical Logic Quarterly 13 (15):225-240.
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  36. Manuel Garc?A.-Carpintero (1994). The Supervenience of Mental Content. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 94:117 - 135.
  37. Raoul Gervais (2014). A Framework for Inter-Level Explanations: Outlines for a New Explanatory Pluralism. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 48:1-9.
  38. Alfred Gierer (1996). Organisms-Mechanisms: Stahl, Wolff, and the Case Against Reductionist Exclusion. Science in Context 9 (4).
    Unlike Aristotelian physics with its teleological notions, modern physics was developed exclusively in relation to the nonliving domain. This raised the question as to whether mechanics applies to organisms, and if so, to what extent. From the seventeenth century on, mechanistic ideas became prominent in biological and medical theory. Contemporary biology explains essential features of life on the basis of physical laws and processes. This does not prove, however, that the early mechanists were essentially right. In the eighteenth century, following (...)
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  39. Norman Chase Gillespie (1983). Response: Subvenient Identities and Supervenient Differences. Southern Journal of Philosophy 22 (Supplement):111-116.
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  40. H. Gomperz (1937). Some Simple Thoughts on Freedom and Responsibility. Philosophy 12 (45):61 - 76.
    The following considerations have been styled “simple thoughts” for two reasons.
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  41. Charles Goodman (2005). Vaibhāsika Metaphoricalism. Philosophy East and West 55 (3):377-393.
    : Scholars have proposed several different interpretations of the doctrine of no-self found in the Buddhist Abhidharma literature. It is argued here that two of these, Constitutive Reductionism and Eliminativism, are ruled out by textual evidence. A third, the Eliminative Reductionism of Siderits, is much closer to the intent of the texts.We can refine it further by attending to the role of metaphor in Vaibhāsika accounts of the no-self doctrine. If we update this view by drawing on analytic philosophy, the (...)
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  42. S. Guccione (1995). Levels. In Giuseppe Trautteur (ed.), Consciousness: Distinction and Reflection. Bibliopolis. 52--54.
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  43. Stuart Hampshire (1969). A Kind of Materialism. Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 43:5 - 23.
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  44. Norwood Russell Hanson (1956). Facts and Theories in Physical Thinking.
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  45. Rom Harré (2005). Transcending the Emergence/Reduction Distinction: The Case of Biology. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 80 (56):1-.
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  46. Stephan Hartmann (2010). Who's Afraid of Nagelian Reduction? Erkenntnis 73 (3):393 - 412.
    We reconsider the Nagelian theory of reduction and argue that, contrary to a widely held view, it is the right analysis of intertheoretic reduction. The alleged difficulties of the theory either vanish upon closer inspection or turn out to be substantive philosophical questions rather than knock-down arguments.
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  47. Robert J. Henle (1949). Our Emergent Civilisation. Modern Schoolman 26 (2):193-194.
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  48. David Hommen (2014). Moore and Schaffer on the Ontology of Omissions. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 45 (1):71-89.
    In this paper, I discuss Michael Moore’s and Jonathan Schaffer’s views on the ontology of omissions in context of their stances on the problem of omissive causation. First, I consider, from a general point of view, the question of the ontology of omissions, and how it relates to the problem of omissive causation. Then I describe Moore’s and Schaffer’s particular views on omissions and how they combine with their stances on the problem of omissive causation. I charge Moore and Schaffer (...)
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  49. Ted Honderich, Psychoneural Pairs.
    The problem first of clarifying and then of answering the questions how far human thoughts and actions are subject to causality and whether this is consistent with their being free is one to which many different approaches have been made throughout the history of philosophy. I doubt if any of them has been the product of such intense research as Professor Honderich has devoted to the construction, the defence and the evaluation of his theory of determinism. Agreement among philosophers, especially (...)
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  50. Walter Horn (1984). A New Proof for the Physical World. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 44 (4):531-537.
    A proof is offered according to which if a psychological premise held by many diverse philosophers through the centuries to the effect that any represented physical property will be held to be exemplified unless some conflicting physical property is simultaneously represented is considered to be necessary, then there are physical objects in every possible world.
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