David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Inquiry 16 (1-4):16 – 94 (1973)
The aim of this essay is a criticism of reductionism ? both in its ?static? interpretation (usually referred to as the layer model or level?picture of science) and in its ?dynamic? interpretation (as a theory of the growth of scientific knowledge), with emphasis on the latter ? from the point of view of Popperian fallibilism and Feyerabendian pluralism, but without being committed to the idiosyncrasies of these standpoints. In both aspects of criticism, the rejection is based on the proposal of a global alternative. Hummell and Opp's research programme for the reduction of sociology to psychology is used as a starting?point and taken as the primary object of criticism. Following the introductory Section I, Section II analyses the three crucial notions of Hummell and Opp's research programme ? their explications of the notions of ?sociology?, ?psychology? and the concept of reduction itself ? and criticizes the authors? deficient ?logic of reduction?. Although the ?local? shortcomings of our authors? ?logic of reduction? do not affect reductionism as such, i.e. logically sound versions of reductionism as devised by Kemeny, Nagel, Oppenheim, Putnam, Woodger et al., it is argued that the logical soundness of sophisticated reductionism cannot compensate for its additional epistemological and methodological deficiencies. Section III analyses the ?dynamic? interpretation of reductionism as a particular developmental pattern of scientific growth. It is argued that even reductionism at its best can produce only cumulative progress, thus ?a priori? excluding scientific revolutions which are inevitably counter?inductive as well as counter?reductive. Section IV discusses the philosophical background of modern reductionism, and examines the effects both of reductionism and of anti?reductionistic pluralism on the autonomy of scientific fields. It is argued that pluralistic anti?reductionism undermines spurious claims for autonomy much more effectively than reductionism. As a ?local? improvement of the reductionistic research programme, the replacement of the predominant one?way reductionism by a less restrictive many?way reductionism is proposed. It is argued that the appropriate treatment for an allegedly backward science (say sociology) is not its reduction to an allegedly more advanced science (say psychology) but its non?reductive replacement by new theories (of the same or of another field) that do not incorporate the older ones. As a ?global? alternative to the reduction of sociology to psychology, the frontier?crossing direct application of psychological theories to sociological phenomena is proposed. A plea is made for a pluralistic science without reduction, based on intra? and interscientific criticism as the proper method for the advancement of knowledge
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
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
Peter Achinstein & Stephen Francis Barker (eds.) (1969). The Legacy of Logical Positivism. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Press.
Joseph Agassi (1966). Sensationalism. Mind 75 (297):1-24.
Kafimir Ajdukiewicz (1934). Das weltbild und die begriffsapparatur. Erkenntnis 4 (1):259-287.
Paul Benacerraf (1965). What Numbers Could Not Be. Philosophical Review 74 (1):47-73.
Paul Benacerraf & Hilary Putnam (eds.) (1983). Philosophy of Mathematics: Selected Readings. Cambridge University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Ivan Strenski (1976). Reductionism and Structural Anthropology. Inquiry 19 (1-4):73 – 89.
Michael Schmid (1982). Prof. Opp on Evolution - Some Critical Comments. Theory and Decision 14 (4):427-434.
Similar books and articles
John Bickle (1992). Mental Anomaly and the New Mind-Brain Reductionism. Philosophy of Science 59 (2):217-30.
Jeremy Butterfield (2011). Emergence, Reduction and Supervenience: A Varied Landscape. [REVIEW] Foundations of Physics 41 (6):920-959.
Christian Sachse & Michael Esfeld (2007). Theory Reduction by Means of Functional Sub-Types. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (1):1-17.
Michael Esfeld & Christian Sachse (2007). Theory Reduction by Means of Functional Sub-Types. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (1):1 – 17.
Robert C. Richardson (1979). Functionalism and Reductionism. Philosophy of Science 46 (4):533-58.
Hans J. Hummell & Karl-Dieter Opp (1968). Sociology Without Sociology. Inquiry 11 (1-4):205 – 226.
Robert C. Richardson (1999). Cognitive Science and Neuroscience: New Wave Reductionism. Philosopical Psychology 12 (3):297-307.
Sahotra Sarkar (1992). Models of Reduction and Categories of Reductionism. Synthese 91 (3):167-94.
Added to index2009-02-04
Total downloads10 ( #215,417 of 1,699,425 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #161,079 of 1,699,425 )
How can I increase my downloads?