This paper examines the nature of theory structure in biology and considers the implications of those theoretical structures for theoryreduction. An account of biological theories as interlevel prototypes embodying causal sequences, and related to each other by strong analogies, is presented, and examples from the neurosciences are provided to illustrate these middle-range theories. I then go on to discuss several modifications of Nagel''s classical model of theoryreduction, and indicate at what stages in the (...) development of reductions these models might best apply. Finally I consider several implications of these analyses of theory structure and reduction for disciplinary integration in biology. (shrink)
This proposes a new theory of Quantum measurement; a state reductiontheory in which reduction is to the elements of the number operator basis of a system, triggered by the occurrence of annihilation or creation (or lowering or raising) operators in the time evolution of a system. It is from these operator types that the acronym ‘LARC’ is derived. Reduction does not occur immediately after the trigger event; it occurs at some later time with probability (...) P t per unit time, where P t is very small. Localisation of macroscopic objects occurs in the natural way: photons from an illumination field are reflected off a body and later absorbed by another body. Each possible absorption of a photon by a molecule in the second body generates annihilation and raising operators, which in turn trigger a probability per unit time P t of a state reduction into the number operator basis for the photon field and the number operator basis of the electron orbitals of the molecule. Since all photons in the illumination field have come from the location of the first body, wherever that is, a single reduction leads to a reduction of the position state of the first body relative to the second, with a total probability of mP t , where m is the number of photon absorption events. Unusually for a reductiontheory, the larc theory is naturally relativistic. (shrink)
The paper sets out a new strategy for theoryreduction by means of functional sub-types. This strategy is intended to get around the multiple realization objection. We use Kim’s argument for token identity (ontological reductionism) based on the causal exclusion problem as starting point. We then extend ontological reductionism to epistemological reductionism (theoryreduction). We show how one can distinguish within any functional type between functional sub-types. Each of these sub-types is coextensive with one type of (...) realizer. By this means, a conservative theoryreduction is in principle possible despite multiple realization. We link this account with Nagelian reduction as well as Kim’s functional reduction. (shrink)
The paper sets out a new strategy for theoryreduction by means of functional sub-types. This strategy is intended to get around the multiple realization objection. We use Kim's argument for token identity (ontological reductionism) based on the causal exclusion problem as starting point. We then extend ontological reductionism to epistemological reductionism (theoryreduction). We show how one can distinguish within any functional type between functional sub-types. Each of these sub-types is coextensive with one type of (...) realizer. By this means, a conservative theoryreduction is in principle possible, despite multiple realization. We link this account with Nagelian reduction, as well as with Kim's functional reduction. (shrink)
Schaffner’s model of theoryreduction has played an important role in philosophy of science and philosophy of biology. Here, the model is found to be problematic because of an internal tension. Indeed, standard antireductionist external criticisms concerning reduction functions and laws in biology do not provide a full picture of the limits of Schaffner’s model. However, despite the internal tension, his model usefully highlights the importance of regulative ideals associated with the search for derivational, and embedding, deductive (...) relations among mathematical structures in theoretical biology. A reconstructed Schaffnerian model could therefore shed light on mathematical theory development in the biological sciences and on the epistemology of mathematical practices more generally. *Received November 2006; revised March 2009. †To contact the author, please write to: Philosophy Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1156 High St., Santa Cruz, CA 95064; e‐mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
Theoryreduction is analyzed and examples are presented from various branches of physics. The procedure takes different forms in different theories. Examples from various theories are arranged in increasing order of difficulty. Special emphasis is placed on the quantum to classical reduction. It is argued that there is good and interesting physics in theoryreduction and that it deserves more attention than it has been receiving in the past.
It is often said that the kinetic theory of gases is one of the best examples of the reduction of one theory into another; that is, the classical theory of thermodynamics [or to be more exact, a significant portion of it] is alleged to be reduced to the kinetic theory, which is based on the Newtonian mechanics and the atomistic view of the matter. But what is the nature of this alleged "reduction"? If you (...) want to know the right answer to this, the best way is to examine the historical development of the kinetic theory. The kinetic theory is a theoretical attempt to explain the nature of gases and heat processes, in general, in terms of the movements of numerous molecules constituting a gas. Its major advocates were James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79) and Ludwig Boltzmann (1844-1906); in the course of their work on the kinetic theory, they had to struggle with several conceptual problems, as well as with many empirical problems, and these conceptual problems have something to do with our question of theoryreduction. And you will see that these problems center on the concept of probability. Drawing on Dr. Shin'ichiro Tomonaga's examination, I will argue that their case was not a reduction to, but an extension of, the Newtonian mechanics. (shrink)
It is demonstrated that the reduction of a physical theory S to another one, T, in the sense that S can be derived from T holds in general only for the mathematical framework. The interpretation of S and the associated central terms cannot all be derived from those of T because of the qualitative differences between the cognitive levels of S and T. Their cognitively autonomous status leads to an epistemic as well as an ontological pluralism. This pluralism (...) is consistent with the unity of nature in the sense of a substantive monism. (shrink)
This paper points out the merit of Nagelian reduction, namely to propose a model of inter-theoretic reduction that retains the scientific quality of the reduced theory and the merit of functional reduction, namely to take multiple realization into account and to offer reductive explanations. By considering Lewis and Kim’s proposal for local reductions, we establish that functional reduction fails to achieve a theoryreduction and cannot retain the scientific quality of the reduced (...) class='Hi'>theory. We improve on that proposal by showing how one can build functional sub-types that are coextensive with physical realizer types and thereby obtain a theoryreduction that is explanatory and that vindicates the scientific quality of the special sciences. (shrink)
I propose a semi-eliminative reduction of Fodors concept of module to the concept of attractor basin which is used in Cognitive Dynamic Systems Theory (DST). I show how attractor basins perform the same explanatory function as modules in several DST based research program. Attractor basins in some organic dynamic systems have even been able to perform cognitive functions which are equivalent to the If/Then/Else loop in the computer language LISP. I suggest directions for future research programs which could (...) find similar equivalencies between organic dynamic systems and other cognitive functions. This type of research could help us discover how (and/or if) it is possible to use Dynamic Systems Theory to more accurately model the cognitive functions that are now being modeled by subroutines in Symbolic AI computer models. If such a reduction of subroutines to basins of attraction is possible, it could free AI from the limitations that prompted Fodor to say that it was impossible to model certain higher level cognitive functions. (shrink)
Nagel’s official model of theory-reduction and the way it is represented in the literature are shown to be incompatible with the careful remarks on the notion of reduction Nagel gave while developing his model. Based on these remarks, an alternative model is outlined which does not face some of the problems the official model faces. Taking the context in which Nagel developed his model into account, it is shown that the way Nagel shaped his model and, thus, (...) its well-known deficiencies, are best conceived of as a mere by-product of his philosophical background. (shrink)
Millers Living Systems Theory (LST) is known to be very comprehensive. It comprises eight nested hierarchical levels. It also includes twenty critical subsystems. While Millers approach has been analyzed and applied in great detail, some problematic features remain, requiring further explication. One of these is the relationship between reduction and emergence in LST. There are at least four relevant possibilities. One is that LST exhibits neither clear reductionism nor emergence, but is essentially neutral in this regard. Another is (...) that the apparent comprehensiveness of LST is illusory, as the approach remains vulnerable to reduction that could ultimately reduce it to a shadow of its present self. The charge of reductionism has been made by critics leading Miller to defend this theory vehemently as nonreductionist in nature. A third possibility is that LST is not reductionist, but is in fact an emergent theory. Miller makes this claim quite strongly. A fourth possibility, and in some ways the most analytically problematic, is that LST exhibits evidence of both reductionism and emergence simultaneously. Some critics might see this fourth situation as evidence of a troubling paradox or anomaly that must be resolved before further progress can be made in the explication and application of LST. The purpose of the paper is to remove this apparent anomaly. The paper removes this anomaly by differentiating between new-variable emergence and transformational emergence. No concrete evidence is found to contradict Milers claim of emergence in LST, and thus no true anomaly exists. (shrink)
In this paper, the (possible) role of model theory forstructuralism and structuralist definitions of ``reduction'' arediscussed. Whereas it is somewhat undecisive with respect tothe first point – discussing some pro's and con's ofthe model theoretic approach when compared with a syntacticand a structuralist one – it emphasizes that severalstructuralist definitions of ``reducibility'' do not providegenerally acceptable explications of ``reducibility''. This claimrests on some mathematical results proved in this paper.
The central problem in the quantum theory of measurement, how to describe the process of state reduction in terms of the quantum mechanical formalism, is solved on the basis of the relativity of quantal states, which implies that once the apparatus is detected in a well-defined state, the object state must reduce to a corresponding one. This is a process termed by Schrödinger disentanglement. Here, it is essential to observe that Renninger's negative result does constitute an actual measurement (...) process. From this point of view, Heisenberg's interpretation of his microscope experiment and the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen arguments are reinvestigated. Satisfactory discussions are given to various experimental situations, such as the Stern-Gerlach-type experiment, successive measurements, macroscopic measurements, and Schrödinger's cat. Finally it is proposed to regard a state vector in quantum mechanics as an irreducible physical construct, in Margenau's sense, that is not further analyzable both mathematically and conceptually. (shrink)
Econometric reductiontheory provides a comprehensive probabilistic framework for the analysis and classification of the reductions (simplifications) associated with empirical econometric models. However, the available approaches to econometric reductiontheory are unable to satisfactorily accommodate a commonplace theory of social reality, namely that the course of history is indeterministic, that history does not repeat itself and that the future depends on the past. Using concepts from philosophy this paper proposes a solution to these shortcomings, which (...) in addition permits new reductions, interpretations and definitions. (shrink)
Work on the central problems of the philosophy of science has led the author to attempt to create an intelligible version of quantum theory. The basic idea is that probabilistic transitions occur when new stationary or particle states arise as a result of inelastic collisions.
The identity theory’s rise to prominence in analytic philosophy of mind during the late 1950s and early 1960s is widely seen as a watershed in the development of physicalism, in the sense that whereas logical behaviourism proposed analytic and a priori ascertainable identities between the meanings of mental and physical-behavioural concepts, the identity theory proposed synthetic and a posteriori knowable identities between mental and physical properties. While this watershed does exist, the standard account of it is misleading, as (...) it is founded in erroneous intensional misreadings of the logical positivists’—especially Carnap’s—extensional notions of translation and meaning, as well as misinterpretations of the positivists’ shift from the strong thesis of translation-physicalism to the weaker and more liberal notion of reduction-physicalism that occurred in the Unity of Science programme. After setting the historical record straight, the essay traces the first truly modern identity theory to Schlick’s pre-positivist views circa 1920 and goes on to explore its further development in Feigl, arguing that the fundamental difference between the Schlick-Feigl identity theory and the more familiar and influential Place-Smart-Armstrong identity theory has resurfaced in the deep and seemingly unbridgeable gulf in contemporary philosophy of consciousness between inflationary mentalism and deflationary physicalism. (shrink)
I critically evaluate the influential new wave account of theoryreduction in science developed by Paul Churchland and Clifford Hooker. First, I cast doubt on claims that the new wave account enjoys a number of theoretical virtues over its competitors, such as the ability to represent how false theories are reduced by true theories. Second, I argue that the genuinely novel claim that a corrected theory must be specified entirely by terms from the basic reducing theory (...) is in fact too restrictive for scientific practice and should be rejected. Basic theories co-evolve with nonbasic theories in a mutually interactive way, and thus the basic theories incorporate the concepts and concerns of nonbasic theories. Third, I show that once its ontological consequences are duly noted, the reductive part the new wave account collapses into the classical theory developed within the logical empiricist tradition. As such, it still falls prey to standard anti-reductionist argument based upon multiple realizability and the cross-classification of special science and physical science terms. (shrink)
(1) The aim of the paper is to develop a reduction of fallacy theory, i.e. to 'deduce' fallacy theory from a positive theory of argumentation which provides exact criteria for valid and adequate argumentation. Such reductionism has several advantages compared to an unsystematic action, which is quite usual in current fallacy but which at least in part is due to the poor state of positive argumentation theory itself. (2) After defining 'fallacy' (3) some principle ideas (...) and (4) the exact criteria for (argumentatively) valid and adequate arguments of the 'practical theory of argumentation' of the author are expounded. These criteria will be used as the positive basis for the following reduction. (5) In the main part of the paper a systematization, definition and explanation of the main types and many subforms of fallacies of argumentative validity and (6) adequacy is developed, following the list of positive conditions of validity and adequacy. In addition to many new types of fallacies, this systematization contains the most important of the traditionally known and named fallacies; these are explained and the criteria for some of them are corrected or put more precisely. (shrink)
A mechanism describing state reduction dynamics in relativistic quantum field theory is outlined. The mechanism involves nonlinear stochastic modifications to the standard description of unitary state evolution and the introduction of a relativistic field in which a quantized degree of freedom is associated to each point in spacetime. The purpose of this field is to mediate in the interaction between classical stochastic influences and conventional quantum fields. The equations of motion are Lorentz covariant, frame independent, and do not (...) result in divergent behavior. It is shown that the mathematical framework permits the specification of unambiguous local properties providing a connection between the model and evidence of real world phenomena. The collapse process is demonstrated for an idealized example. (shrink)
Henry Eyring's absolute rate theory explains the size of chemical reaction rate constants in terms of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and quantum chemistry. In addition it uses a number of unique concepts such as the 'transition state'. A key feature of the theory is that the explanation it provides relies on the comparison of reaction rate constant expressions derived from these individual theories. In this paper, the example is used to develop a naturalized notion of reduction and the (...) unity of science. This characterization provides the necessary clues to the sort of inter-theoretic linkages that are present in the theory of reaction rates. The overall theory is then further characterized as a theory network, establishing connections between non-reductive notions of inter-theory connections. This characterization also sheds new light on the unity of science. (shrink)
It is shown that complex adaptations are best modelled as discrete processes represented on directed weighted graphs. Such a representation captures the idea that problems of adaptation in evolutionary biology are problems in a discrete space, something that the conventional representations using continuous adaptive landscapes does not. Further, this representation allows the utilization of well-known algorithms for the computation of several biologically interesting results such as the accessibility of one allele from another by a specified number of point mutations, the (...) accessibility of alleles at a local maximum of fitness, the accessibility of the allele with the globally maximum fitness, etc. A reduction of a model due to Kauffman and Levin to such a representation is explicitly carried out and it is shown how this reduction clarifies the biological questions that are of interest. (shrink)
Behaving organisms are continually choosing. Recently the theoretical and empirical study of decision making by behavioral ecologists and experimental psychologists have converged in the area of foraging, particularly food acquisition. This convergence has raised the interdisciplinary question of whether principles that have emerged from the study of decision making in the operant conditioning laboratory are consistent with decision making in naturally occurring foraging. One such principle, the developed in studies of choice in the operant conditioning laboratory, states that the effectiveness (...) of a stimulus as a reinforcer may be predicted most accurately by calculating the decrease in time to food presentation correlated with the onset of the stimulus, relative to the length of time to food presentation measured from the onset of the preceding stimulus. Since foraging involves choice, the delay-reduction hypothesis may be extended to predict aspects of foraging. We discuss the strategy of assessing parameters of foraging with operant laboratory analogues to foraging. We then compare the predictions of the delay-reduction hypothesis with those of optimal foraging theory, developed by behavioral ecologists, showing that, with two exceptions, the two positions make comparable predictions. The delay-reduction hypothesis is also compared to several contemporary pscyhological accounts of choice. Results from several of our experiments with pigeons, designed as operant conditioning simulations of foraging, have shown the following: The more time subjects spend searching for or traveling between potential food sources, the less selective they become, that is, the more likely they are to accept the less preferred outcome; increasing time spent procuring () food increases selectivity; how often the preferred outcome is available has a greater effect on choice then how often the less preferred outcome is available; subjects maximize reinforcement whether it is the rate, amount, or probability of reinforcement that is varied; there are no significant differences between subjects performing under different types of deprivation (open vs. closed economies). These results are all consistent with the delay-reduction hypothesis. Moreover, they suggest that the technology of the operant conditioning laboratory may have fruitful application in the study of foraging, and, in doing so, they underscore the importance of an interdisciplinary approach to behavior. (shrink)
In this paper, the relation between identity-based reduction and one specific sort of reductive explanation is considered. The notion of identity-based reduction is spelled out and its role in the reduction debate is sketched. An argument offered by Jaegwon Kim, which is supposed to show that identity-based reduction and reductive explanation are incompatible, is critically examined. From the discussion of this argument, some important consequences about the notion of reduction are pointed out.
on points that remain especially crucial, i.e., the concept of the natural attitude, the ways into the reduction (and their systematics), and ﬁnally the question of the “meaning of the reduction.” Indeed, in the reading attempted here, this ﬁnal question leads to two, not necessarily related, focal points: a Cartesian and a Life-world tendency. It is my claim that in following these two paths, Husserl was consistent in pursuing two evident leads in his philosophical enterprise; however, he was (...) at the same time unable to systematically unify these two strands. Thus, I am oﬀering an interpretation which might be called a modiﬁed “departure from Cartesianism” reading that Landgrebe pro-. (shrink)
The propositions, that what we see around us is real and that reality should be represented by the statevector, conflict with quantum theory. In quantum theory, the statevector can readily become a sum of states of comparable norm, each state representing a different reality. In this paper we present the Continuous Spontaneous Localization (CSL) theory, in which a modified Schrodinger equation, while scarcely affecting the dynamics of a microscopic system, rapidly "reduces" the statevector of a macroscopic system (...) to a state appropriate for representing individual reality. (shrink)
Kant, in various parts of his treatment of causality, refers to determinism or the principle of sufficient reason as an inescapable principle. In fact, in the Second Analogy we find the elements to reconstruct a purely phenomenal determinism as a logical and tautological truth. I endeavour in this article to gather these elements into an organic theory of phenomenal causality and then show, in the third section, with a specific argument which I call the “paradox of phenomenal observation”, that (...) this phenomenal determinism is the only rational approach to causality because any logico-reductivistic approach, such as the Humean one, would destroy the temporal order and so the very possibility to talk of a causal relation. I also believe that, all things said, Kant did not achieve a much greater comprehension of the problem than Hume did, in his theory of causality, for he did not free a phenomenal approach from the impasse of reductivism as his reflections on “simultaneous causation” and “vanishing quantities” indeed show, and this I will argue in Sect. 4 of this article. (shrink)
Disvaluing nature—a cognitive act—usually leads quickly to devaluing it too: to real-world exploitation and destruction. Worse, in fact, nature in its devalued state can then be held up as an excuse and justification for the initial disvaluation. In this way, dismissal and destruction perpetuate themselves. I call this process “self-validating reduction.” It is crucial to recognize the cycle of self-validating reduction, both in general and specifically as it applies to nature, if we are to have any chance of (...) reversing it. (shrink)
Husserl conceived of the "reduction" in the "logical investigations" in a different manner than he conceived of it in his later works. In this book, The "reduction" is not a bracketing of the empirical ego so as to attain a self-Enclosed transcendental ego with its intentional acts, Hyletic data, And noemata. Rather it is a reduction that proceeds in part through an adequate inner perception, And in part through recollection and "empirical assumption," and which results in an (...) empirical ego that is nothing more than the synthetic unity of its intentional acts and hyletic data. (shrink)
The practice of social theory is too often given to celebrity hunting, the polemical vulgarizing of one’s putative enemies, or the precocious production of totalizing and redemptive theories purporting to rescue social theory from its perennial crises of meaning, naming and explanation. The constructive task of social theory, however, can be both more modest and productive when attention is given to its substantive concern to provide codes, narratives and explanations of modernity, in all its pluralist and democratic (...) dimensions. This is in effect the self-description of Jeffrey Alexander’s own work. This paper provides an empathetic account of Alexander’s approach to the practice of social theory via a synopsis of his collected essays in Fin de Siècle Social Theory (1995). In particular, it claims that Alexander’s critique of the reductionist propensities of Pierre Bourdieu’s macro-sociological theory is exemplary in its constructive cast as a systematic analysis of the universalizing contents of the conceptual and methodological claims themselves. Herein lies the use of reason itself. (shrink)
This article addresses the question of the mechanisms of the emergence of structure and meaning in the biological and physical sciences. It proceeds from an examination of the concept of intentionality and proposes a model of intentional behavior on the basis of results of computer simulations of structural and functional self-organization. Current attempts to endow intuitive aspects of meaningful complexity with operational content are analyzed and the metaphor of DNA as a computer program (the `genetic program') is critically examined in (...) relation to an alternative metaphor of DNA as data. It is argued that relatively simple networks of boolean automata can classify and recognize patterns of binary strings on the basis of non-programmed, self-generated criteria, but lack a capacity for self-observation and interpretation. To overcome this problem it is necessary to clarify the relationships between the goals and underlying mechanisms of a process and between a system and its environment. It will be shown that memory devices that record the histories of interactions are essential for models of conscious and unconscious intentional behavior and that the possibility of infinitely sophisticated - and therefore unprogrammable - machines cannot be avoided. It will be argued that the notion of infinite sophistication allows the ideas of self-organization and physical determinism to be reconciled. These models will be used to suggest how the voluntary aspect of decision-making in general can emerge out of functional self-organizing processes. The conclusion will introduce the notion of `underdetermination' of theories, which imposes an intrinsic limitation on models of complex natural systems - a limitation that, at the same time, may be precisely what makes possible mutual understanding and intersubjectivity. (shrink)
The view that scientific reduction succeeds by establishing property identities is challenged. it is argued that, instead of identity statements making reductions successful, the fact that a reduction is successful makes the identity statements possible. the argument proceeds first by showing that an explanatory asymmetry is generated by statements expressing property identities, second by locating the source of the asymmetry in a "generative relation" that obtains between the two properties. it is then argued that reduction succeeds only (...) if the reducing theory embodies a mechanism which accounts for such a generative relation. since this view of reduction is incompatible with the traditional view, an alternate account is outlined. (shrink)
A new proposal for a Lorentz-invariant spontaneous localization process in the framework of relativistic quantum field theory is presented. As in all dynamical reduction models, a stochastic process is introduced, which drives the state vector towards the eigenspaces of a set of operators representing suitably chosen physical quantities. Such operators constitute a Lorentz scalar field and are built as time averages and space integrals of a local field-theoretic operator in such a way that the quantities they represent acquire (...) a macroscopic character. As always in dynamical reduction theories, the action of the process on microscopic systems takes place via the micro-macro correlations which arise, e.g., as a consequence of measurements. (shrink)