David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Noûs 46 (4):754-780 (2012)
I aim to reconcile two apparently conﬂicting theses: (a) Everything that can be explained, can be explained in purely physical terms, that is, using the machinery of fundamental physics, and (b) some properties that play an explanatory role in the higher level sciences are irreducible in the strong sense that they are physically undefinable: their nature cannot be described using the vocabulary of physics. I investigate the contribution that physically undefinable properties typically make to explanations in the high-level sciences, and I show that when they are explanatorily relevant, it is in virtue of their extension (or something close) alone. They are irreducible because physics cannot capture their nature; this is no obstacle, however, to physics' more or less capturing their extension, which is all that it need do to duplicate their explanatory power. In the course of the argument, I sketch the outlines of an account of the explanation of physically contingent regularities, such as the regularities found in most branches of biological inquiry, at the center of which is an account of the nature of contingent, empirical bridge principles.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||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
D. M. Armstrong (1983). What is a Law of Nature? Cambridge University Press.
Jonathan Bennett (2003). A Philosophical Guide to Conditionals. Oxford University Press.
John W. Bickle (2008). Psychoneural Reduction: The New Wave. A Bradford Book.
Carl F. Craver (2007). Explaining the Brain: Mechanisms and the Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience. Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press.
John Dupré (1993). The Disorder of Things: Metaphysical Foundations of the Disunity of Science. Harvard University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Andrew Wayne (2012). Emergence and Singular Limits. Synthese 184 (3):341-356.
Brie Gertler (2001). The Explanatory Gap is Not an Illusion: A Reply to Michael Tye. Mind 110 (439):689-694.
Brad Weslake (2010). Explanatory Depth. Philosophy of Science 77 (2):273-294.
By Nic Damnjanovic (2005). Deflationism and the Success Argument. Philosophical Quarterly 55 (218):53–67.
Harold Kincaid (1988). Supervenience and Explanation. Synthese 77 (November):251-81.
Brian Loar (1993). Can We Confirm Supervenient Properties? Philosophical Issues 4:74-92.
Michael Strevens (2008). Physically Contingent Laws and Counterfactual Support. Philosophers' Imprint 8 (8):1-20.
JeeLoo Liu (2001). A Nonreductionist's Solution to Kim's Explanatory Exclusion Problem. Manuscrito 24 (1):7-47.
Added to index2010-04-16
Total downloads237 ( #3,413 of 1,700,306 )
Recent downloads (6 months)17 ( #41,170 of 1,700,306 )
How can I increase my downloads?