Finding a place for elimination in inter-level reductionist activities: Reply to Wimsatt

Synthese 151 (3):477 - 483 (2006)
According to Wimsatt, a proper treatment of reduction must distinguish between two types of reductionist activities scientists engage in. One of the benefits of better understanding the nature of reduction, he believes, is that it shows that eliminativism, that is, the elimination of concepts and theories from science, is a rather circumscribed and limited affair, especially in the case of inter-level reductionist activities. While I agree with Wimsatt that it is important to distinguish the two types of reductionisms, I show that elimination in inter-level reductionist activities can be a powerful heuristic in science, driving both inter-level and successional reduction.
Keywords Elimination  Mechanism  Reduction  Research heuristics
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DOI 10.2307/20118821
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