Reduction revisited

South African Journal of Philosophy 25 (2):102-112 (2006)
Abstract
This is a first tentative examination of the possibility of reinstating reduction as a valid candidate for presenting relations between mental and physical properties. Classical Nagelian reduction is undoubtedly contaminated in many ways, but here I investigate the possibility of adapting to problems concerning mental properties an alternative definition for theory reduction in philosophy of science. The definition I offer is formulated with the aid of non-monotonic logic, which I suspect might be a very interesting realm for testing notions concerning localized mental-physical reduction. The reason for this is that non-monotonic reasoning by definition is about appeals made not only to explicit observations, but also to an implicit selection of background knowledge containing heuristic information. The flexibility of this definition and the fact that it is not absolute, i.e. that the relation of reduction may be retracted or allowed to shift without fuss, add at least an interesting alternative factor to current materialist debates. South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 25(2) 2006: 102-112
Keywords Logic  Materialism  Reduction  Science  Nagel, Ernest
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