Structural realism and the relationship between the special sciences and physics

Philosophy of Science 75 (5):744-755 (2008)
Abstract
The primacy of physics generates a philosophical problem that the naturalist must solve in order to be entitled to an egalitarian acceptance of the ontological commitments he or she inherits from the special sciences and fundamental physics. The problem is the generalized causal exclusion argument. If there is no genuine causation in the domains of the special sciences but only in fundamental physics then there are grounds for doubting the existence of macroscopic objects and properties, or at least the concreteness of them. The aim of this paper is to show that the causal exclusion problem derives its force from a false dichotomy between Humeanism about causation and a notion of productive or generative causation based on a defunct model of the physical world. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol, 9 Woodland Rd., Bristol BS8 1TB, UK.
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