Irreducible Holism

Diametros 30 (30):76-92 (2011)
This paper explores some issues concerning the relation between ontological reduction and conceptual reduction, as construed by the physicalists. More specifically, it aims at highlighting and analyzing certain general methodological and ethical implications of the physicalistic research projects. Against this background, the paper identifies a certain category of concepts as “irreducibly holistic”, that is, those with regard to which ontological and conceptual reduction are inextricably bound together. Further, the paper argues that since irreducibly holistic concepts are conceptually irreducible to the physical, they have to be ontologically irreducible to the physical as well, thus rendering physicalism false. This conclusion is reached by analyzing and then rejecting a variety of programmes aimed at accommodating irreducibly holistic concepts within a physicalist framework (including eliminativism, preservative irrealism and quasi-realism). Lastly, an ontologically pluralistic framework is proposed for the purpose of reconciling apparently conflicting insights from different areas of philosophical and scientific inquiry.
Keywords physicalism  holism  reduction  emergence  supervenience  eliminativism  quasi-realism
Categories (categorize this paper)
 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: 9,360
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  •   Try with proxy.
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    Andrew Melnyk (1991). Physicalism: From Supervenience to Elimination. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 51 (September):573-87.
    Bradford Petrie (1987). Global Supervenience and Reduction. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 48 (September):119-30.
    Michael Patrick Seevinck (2004). Holism, Physical Theories and Quantum Mechanics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 35 (4):693-712.

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    3 ( #224,086 of 1,089,047 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    1 ( #69,722 of 1,089,047 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature

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