Can Any Sciences Be Special?
Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||Non-reductive physicalism accepts the primacy of the physical while aiming to avoid the constraints of traditional reduction. It respects physicalism via the doctrine that all properties metaphysically supervene on physical properties. It avoids traditional reduction via the thesis that many properties cannot be type-identiﬁed with physical properties. The viability of non-reductive physicalism has been extensively discussed over the half-century since it was ﬁrst explored by Putnam (1960, 1967) and Davidson (1970). Most of the debate has focused on whether non-reductive physicalism can accommodate non-physical causes (cf Kim 1993; Robb and Heil 2003: sect 6.) However, there has been far less discussion of whether non-reductive physicalism can accommodate non-physical laws (though see Block 1997; Kim 1992; Macdonald 1992; Millikan 1999; Papineau 1985, 1992). In this chapter I wish to focus ﬁrst on the issue of non-physical laws. This will turn out to cast some useful light on the question of non-physical causation. Not all non-reductive physicalists think that there are non-physical laws. Davidson, for example, does not (1976). Even so, it is widely supposed that there can be laws in ‘special sciences’ like biology, psychology, and economics even though their categories do not reduce to physical types. The locus classicus for this position is Fodor’s ‘Special Sciences’ (1974). Fodor made his analysis graphic in what must be the most-reproduced diagram in philosophy.|
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