David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 176 (3):379 - 397 (2010)
We examine some assumptions about the nature of 'levels of reality' in the light of examples drawn from physics. Three central assumptions of the standard view of such levels (for instance, Oppenheim and Putnam 1958) are (i) that levels are populated by entities of varying complexity, (ii) that there is a unique hierarchy of levels, ranging from the very small to the very large, and (iii) that the inhabitants of adjacent levels are related by the parthood relation. Using examples from physics, we argue that it is more natural to view the inhabitants of levels as the behaviors of entities, rather than entities themselves. This suggests an account of reduction between levels, according to which one behavior reduces to another if the two are related by an appropriate limit relation. By considering cases where such inter-level reduction fails, we show that the hierarchy of behaviors differs in several respects from the standard hierarchy of entities. In particular, while on the standard view, lower-level entities are 'micro' parts of higher-level entities, on our view, a system's macro-level behavior can be seen as a ('non-spatial') part of its micro-level behavior. We argue that this second hierarchy is not really in conflict with the standard view and that it better suits examples of explanation in science
|Keywords||Levels Reduction Physicalism Part–whole relations|
No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Robert W. Batterman (1995). Theories Between Theories: Asymptotic Limiting Intertheoretic Relations. Synthese 103 (2):171 - 201.
John Heil (1999). Multiple Realizability. American Philosophical Quarterly 36 (3):189-208.
Carl G. Hempel (1966). Philosophy of Natural Science. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.,Prentice-Hall.
A. Huttemann & D. Papineau (2005). Physicalism Decomposed. Analysis 65 (1):33-39.
John G. Kemeny & Paul Oppenheim (1956). On Reduction. Philosophical Studies 7 (1-2):6 - 19.
Citations of this work BETA
Angela Potochnik & Brian McGill (2012). The Limitations of Hierarchical Organization. Philosophy of Science 79 (1):120-140.
Markus I. Eronen (2013). No Levels, No Problems: Downward Causation in Neuroscience. Philosophy of Science 80 (5):1042-1052.
Similar books and articles
Stanley N. Salthe (2010). Development (and Evolution) of the Universe. Foundations of Science 15 (4):357-367.
Gregory Johnson (2012). The Relationship Between Psychological Capacities and Neurobiological Activities. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (3):453-480.
Ron Sun, Andrew Coward & Michael J. Zenzen (2005). On Levels of Cognitive Modeling. Philosophical Psychology 18 (5):613-637.
Jaegwon Kim (2002). The Layered Model: Metaphysical Considerations. Philosophical Explorations 5 (1):2 – 20.
Patrick McGivern (2008). Reductive Levels and Multi-Scale Structure. Synthese 165 (1):53 - 75.
Arthur L. Stinchcombe (1991). The Conditions of Fruitfulness of Theorizing About Mechanisms in Social Science. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 21 (3):367-388.
Jorge J. E. Gracia (2009). Categories and Levels of Reality. Axiomathes 19 (2):179-191.
Peter W. Barlow (1992). A Constant of Temporal Structure in the Human Hierarchy and Other Systems. Acta Biotheoretica 40 (4):321-328.
Stanley N. Salthe (2009). A Hierarchical Framework for Levels of Reality: Understanding Through Representation. [REVIEW] Axiomathes 19 (1):87-99.
Andrew A. Fingelkurts & Alexander A. Fingelkurts (2012). Mind as a Nested Operational Architectonics of the Brain. Physics of Life Reviews 9 (1):49-50.
Added to index2009-06-10
Total downloads78 ( #22,485 of 1,692,619 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #32,661 of 1,692,619 )
How can I increase my downloads?