Indispensability arguments in favour of reductive explanations.

Abstract
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)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,724
External links
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

View all 12 references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
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.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2011-07-07

Total downloads

21 ( #79,881 of 1,098,598 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #57,255 of 1,098,598 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.