The virtues of non-reduction, even when reduction is a virtue

Philosophical Forum 34 (4):121-140 (2003)
This paper aims to reduce the confusion about what our proper attitudes toward reductionism should be. I will begin by saying briefly why reductive explanations are generally desirable. I will then spend the bulk of the paper laying out what I consider to be the best epistemic reasons for thinking that developing non-reductive accounts is also highly desirable. I aim to show that the best arguments for the desirability of reduction, and for the desirability of non-reduction, are rooted less in any deep metaphysical principles, and more in the general nuts and bolts of information storage in cognitive agents.
Keywords Reductionism  anti-reductionism  subsumption  explanation
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DOI 10.1111/1467-9191.00130
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