David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal for General Philosophy of Science 42 (1):33-46 (2011)
Instances of explanatory reduction are often advocated on metaphysical grounds; given that the only real things in the world are subatomic particles and their interaction, we have to try to explain everything in terms of the laws of physics. In this paper, we show that explanatory reduction cannot be defended on metaphysical grounds. Nevertheless, indispensability arguments for reductive explanations can be developed, taking into account actual scientific practice and the role of epistemic interests. Reductive explanations might be indispensable to address some epistemic interest answering a specific explanation-seeking question in the most accurate, adequate and efficient way. Just like explanatory pluralists often advocate the indispensability of higher levels of explanation pointing at the pragmatic value of the explanatory information obtained on these higher levels, we argue that explanatory reduction—traditionally understood as the contender of pluralism—can be defended in a similar way. The pragmatic value reductionist, lower level explanations might have in the biomedical sciences and the social sciences is illustrated by some case studies.
|Keywords||Explanatory pluralism Reductive explanations Epistemic interests|
|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
Wim Dekkers & Marcel Olde Rikkert (2006). What is a Genetic Cause? The Example of Alzheimer's Disease. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 9 (3):273-284.
Lisa Gannett (1999). What's in a Cause?: The Pragmatic Dimensions of Genetic Explanations. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 14 (3):349-373.
Ian Hacking (1983). Representing and Intervening: Introductory Topics in the Philosophy of Natural Science. Cambridge University Press.
Frank Jackson & Philip Pettit (1992). In Defense of Explanatory Ecumenicalism. Economics and Philosophy 8 (1):1--21.
Philip Kitcher (2001). Science, Truth, and Democracy. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Jeroen van Bouwel (2010). Explanatory Pluralism in the Medical Sciences: Theory and Practice. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 31 (5):371-390.
Jeroen van Bouwel & Erik Weber (2008). A Pragmatist Defense of Non-Relativistic Explanatory Pluralism in History and Social Science. History and Theory 47 (2):168–182.
Huib L. de Jong (2002). Levels of Explanation in Biological Psychology. Philosophical Psychology 15 (4):441-462.
Erik Weber & Jeroen Van Bouwel (2002). Symposium on Explanations and Social Ontology 3: Can We Dispense with Structural Explanations of Social Facts? Economics and Philosophy 18 (2):259-275.
Angela Potochnik (2010). Levels of Explanation Reconceived. Philosophy of Science 77 (1):59-72.
Andreas Hüttemann & Alan C. Love (2011). COMPARING PART-WHOLE REDUCTIVE EXPLANATIONS IN BIOLOGY AND PHYSICS. In Dennis Dieks, Wenceslao Gonzalo, Thomas Uebel, Stephan Hartmann & Marcel Weber (eds.), Explanation, Prediction, and Confirmation. Springer. 183--202.
Erik Weber & Jeroen Van Bouwel (2009). Causation, Unification, and the Adequacy of Explanations of Facts. Theoria. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science 24 (3):301-320.
Jan De Winter (2010). Explanations in Software Engineering: The Pragmatic Point of View. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 20 (2):277-289.
Caterina Marchionni (2008). Explanatory Pluralism and Complementarity: From Autonomy to Integration. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 38 (3):314-333.
Todd Jones (1997). Unification, Reduction, and Non-Ideal Explanations. Synthese 112 (1):75-96.
Jeroen van Bouwel (2004). Individualism and Holism, Reduction and Pluralism: A Comment on Keith Sawyer and Julie Zahle. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (4):527-535.
Lei Zhong (2011). A Unificationist Vindication of Moral Explanation. Philosophical Forum 42 (2):131-146.
Erik Weber, Jeroen Van Bouwel & Robrecht Vanderbeeken (2005). Forms of Causal Explanation. Foundations of Science 10 (4):437-454.
Added to index2011-07-07
Total downloads23 ( #79,956 of 1,102,037 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #68,255 of 1,102,037 )
How can I increase my downloads?