About this topic

The subject of interlevel relations concerns the connection between items described by the different sciences, from fundamental-level physics to high-level human sciences. Philosophers analyze these relations in terms of concepts like reduction, or emergence, or supervenience, or realization. The subject is essential to any broad picture of the sciences and the world. 

Key works Most of the works in philosophy divide along the aforementioned views. For reduction, important ideas includes reduction as a derivation by bridge principles (Nagel 1961), approximate reduction (Schaffner 1967), an expanded continuum of strong to weak reduction that advertises no bridge laws (Churchland 1979; Hooker 1981; Bickle 1997), compositional or mechanistic reduction (Wimsatt 1976; Rosenberg 2006; Bechtel 2007), and functional reduction (Kim 1998). For emergence, there are views that involve epistemic, metaphysical, synchronic, and diachronic ideas (McLaughlin 1992; Wimsatt 1997; Humphreys 2008), as well as issues about actual cases in the sciences (Batterman 2001; Davies 2006). For supervenience, there are weak, strong, global, and mereological varieties (Kim 1993; Horgan 1993; McLaughlin 1995), as well as debates over their significance for issues of explanation and dependence (Grimes 1988; Bennett 2004) and their adequacy to express a doctrine of physicalism (Wilson 2005). For realization, the are accounts in terms of parts and wholes (Cummins 1983; Gillett 2002), functional roles and occupation (Papineau 1993; Melnyk 1994; Kim 1998), determinables and determinates (Macdonald & Macdonald 1986; Yablo 1992), and subsets of causal powers (Wilson 1999, 2011; Shoemaker 2001, 2007). There are also questions about the resulting broad picture of the sciences and how it is unified (Oppenheim & Putnam 1958; Rosenberg 1994).
Introductions Some works have a fairly broad scope, encompassing several of the views just mentioned. See Beckermann et al 1992; van Gulick 2001; and Kim 2003.
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  1. Charles T. Wolfe. Materialism: A Historico-Philosophical Introduction. Dordrecht: Springer, 2016. Pp. Ix+134. $54.99.Noga Arikha - 2017 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 7 (2):386-391.
  2. A Proposed Taxonomy of Eliminativism.Bernardo Pino - 2017 - Co-herencia 14 (27):181-213.
    In this paper, I propose a general taxonomy of different forms of eliminativism. In order to do so, I begin by exploring eliminativism from a broad perspective, providing a comparative picture of eliminativist projects in different domains. This exploration shows that eliminativism is a label used for a family of related types of eliminativist arguments and claims. The proposed taxonomy is an attempt to systematise those arguments and claims.
  3. Colors From a Logical Point of View.Timm Lampert - 2011 - In Gudrun Wolfschmidt (ed.), Colors in Culture. Hamburg: Tredition. pp. 24-39.
    This paper illustrates what a philosophical and a logical investigation of colors amounts to in contrast to other kinds of color analysis such as physical, physiological, chemical, psychological or cultural analysis of colors. Neither a philosophical nor a logical analysis of colors is concerned with specific aspects of colors. Rather, these kinds of color analysis are concerned with what one might call “logical foundations of color theory”. I will illustrate this first by considering philosophical and then logical analysis of colors.
  4. Mechanistic Levels, Reduction, and Emergence.Mark Povich & Carl F. Craver - forthcoming - In Stuart Glennan & Phyllis McKay Illari (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Mechanisms and Mechanical Philosophy. Routledge.
    We sketch the mechanistic approach to levels, contrast it with other senses of “level,” and explore some of its metaphysical implications. This perspective allows us to articulate what it means for things to be at different levels, to distinguish mechanistic levels from realization relations, and to describe the structure of multilevel explanations, the evidence by which they are evaluated, and the scientific unity that results from them. This approach is not intended to solve all metaphysical problems surrounding physicalism. Yet it (...)
  5. The Megarian and the Aristotelian Concept of Possibility: A Contribution to the History of the Ontological Problem of Modality.Nicolai Hartmann, Frederic Tremblay & Keith R. Peterson - 2017 - Axiomathes 27 (2):209-223.
    This is a translation of Nicolai Hartmann’s article “Der Megarische und der Aristotelische Möglichkeitsbegriff: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des ontologischen Modalitätsproblems,” first published in 1937. In this article, Hartmann defends an interpretation of the Megarian conception of possibility, which found its clearest form in Diodorus Cronus’ expression of it and according to which “only what is actual is possible” or “something is possible only if it is actual.” Hartmann defends this interpretation against the then dominant Aristotelian conception of possibility, based (...)
  6. Edward Buckner and Jack Zupko, Duns Scotus on Time and Existence: The Questions on Aristotle’s “De Interpretatione.”. [REVIEW]Richard Cross - 2016 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 6 (2):352-353.
  7. Thomas C. Vinci, Space, Geometry, and Kant’s Transcendental Deduction of the Categories. [REVIEW]Emily Carson - 2016 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 6 (2):341-344.
  8. Eclectic Realism—a Cake Less Filling.Jacob Busch - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39 (2):270-272.
    In a recent volume of this journal Saatsi [Saatsi, J.. Reconsidering the Fresnel–Maxwell theory shift: How the realist can have her cake and EAT it too. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 36, 509–536.] suggests that we adopt an approach where we explain phenomena reductively, by properties that are described via their nomological roles. These properties are conceived of as higher-order multiply realisable properties. Such properties are however not causally efficacious independent of their causal basis. Therefore Saatsi has left (...)
  9. Cognitive Constraints as Stylistic Unities: The Emergence of Methodological Principles in Scientific Endeavour.R. S. de Freitas - 1994 - Social Science Information 33 (1):129-147.
  10. A Theory of Relevant Properties 1.Yaroslav Shramko - 1999 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 14 (1):63-81.
    In the paper a theory of relevant properties is developed. The theory permits us to distinguish between properties that are relevant to an object and the properties that are irrelevant to it. Predication is meaningful only if a property is relevant to an object. On the base of introducing a special negative type of predication as opposed to usual sentential negation, a new notion of generalization for properties is defined. Context-free, as weIl as context-depended relevance of properties are considered.
  11. Precis of How Propaganda Works.Jason Stanley - 2016 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 31 (3):287-294.
    Precis by the autor of the book How Propaganda Works.Sinopsis del autor del libro How Propaganda Works.
  12. Marie I. Kaiser, Reductive Explanation in the Biological Sciences. Reviewed By.Bradford Lee McCall - 2016 - Philosophy in Review 36 (5):209-210.
  13. Interdisciplinary Success Without Integration.Till Grüne-Yanoff - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 6 (3):343-360.
    Some scholars see interdisciplinarity as a special case of a broader unificationist program. They accept the unification of the sciences as a regulative ideal, and derive from this the normative justification of interdisciplinary research practices. The crucial link for this position is the notion of integration: integration increases the cohesion of concepts and practices, and more specifically of explanations, ontologies, methods and data. Interdisciplinary success then consists in the integration of fields or disciplines, and this constitutes success in the sense (...)
  14. Merricks Vs. The Russellian Orthodoxy.Jeff Speaks - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (2):469-477.
  15. Transcending the Emergence/Reduction Distinction: The Case of Biology.Rom Harré - 2005 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 56:1-2.
  16. Materialism, Reduction, Replacement, and the Place of Consciousness in Science.Jeffrey E. Foss - 1995 - Journal of Philosophy 92 (8):401-429.
  17. Grounding Power on Actions and Mental Attitudes.E. Lorini, N. Troquard, A. Herzig & J. Broersen - 2013 - Logic Journal of the IGPL 21 (3):311-331.
  18. Individualism and Supervenience.Jerry Fodor & Martin Davies - 1986 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 60 (1):235-283.
  19. 19. Insights Into Emergent Probability.William A. Mathews - 2005 - In Lonergan's Quest: A Study of Desire in the Authoring of Insight. University of Toronto Press. pp. 310-327.
  20. Relations Among Fields: Mendelian, Cytological and Molecular Mechanisms.Lindley Darden - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (2):349-371.
    Philosophers have proposed various kinds of relations between Mendelian genetics and molecular biology: reduction, replacement, explanatory extension. This paper argues that the two fields are best characterized as investigating different, serially integrated, hereditary mechanisms. The mechanisms operate at different times and contain different working entities. The working entities of the mechanisms of Mendelian heredity are chromosomes, whose movements serve to segregate alleles and independently assort genes in different linkage groups. The working entities of numerous mechanisms of molecular biology are larger (...)
  21. Nagel on Reduction.Sahotra Sarkar - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 53:43-56.
    This paper attempts a critical reappraisal of Nagel's (1961, 1970) model of reduction taking into account both traditional criticisms and recent defenses. This model treats reduction as a type of explanation in which a reduced theory is explained by a reducing theory after their relevant representational items have been suitably connected. In accordance with the deductive-nomological model, the explanation is supposed to consist of a logical deduction. Nagel was a pluralist about both the logical form of the connections between the (...)
  22. Emergence and Reduction.Evelyn B. Pluhar - 1978 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 9 (4):279-289.
  23. Measurability and the Baire Property at Higher Levels.Adam Krawczyk & Marian Srebrny - 1990 - Zeitschrift fur mathematische Logik und Grundlagen der Mathematik 36 (5):377-380.
  24. Interlevel Relations and Manipulative Causality.Gero Schwenk - 2006 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 37 (1):99-110.
    The topic of this article is the analysis of the relations between different levels of reality. The core argument is based on considerations of both an epistemology of action and manipulative causality as a criterion of object identity. The argumentation is extended towards the concepts of self-organization and self-regulation. Finally, several views on reduction and the problems of emergence and complexity are discussed.
  25. Emergence, Not Supervenience.Paul Humphreys - 1997 - Philosophy of Science 64 (Supplement):S337-S345.
    I argue that supervenience is an inadequate device for representing relations between different levels of phenomena. I then provide six criteria that emergent phenomena seem to satisfy. Using examples drawn from macroscopic physics, I suggest that such emergent features may well be quite common in the physical realm.
  26. Hierarchies and Levels of Reality.Alexander Rueger & Patrick Mcgivern - 2010 - Synthese 176 (3):379-397.
    We examine some assumptions about the nature of 'levels of reality' in the light of examples drawn from physics. Three central assumptions of the standard view of such levels (for instance, Oppenheim and Putnam 1958) are (i) that levels are populated by entities of varying complexity, (ii) that there is a unique hierarchy of levels, ranging from the very small to the very large, and (iii) that the inhabitants of adjacent levels are related by the parthood relation. Using examples from (...)
  27. Goal-Dependence in Ontology.David Danks - 2015 - Synthese 192 (11):3601-3616.
    Our best sciences are frequently held to be one way, perhaps the optimal way, to learn about the world’s higher-level ontology and structure. I first argue that which scientific theory is “best” depends in part on our goals or purposes. As a result, it is theoretically possible to have two scientific theories of the same domain, where each theory is best for some goal, but where the two theories posit incompatible ontologies. That is, it is possible for us to have (...)
  28. Peter Vickers: Understanding Inconsistent Science. [REVIEW]Bryson Brown - 2015 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 46 (2):413-418.
  29. Emergence and Reduction Combined in Phase Transitions.Jeremy Butterfield & Nazim Bouatta - unknown
    In another paper, one of us argued that emergence and reduction are compatible, and presented four examples illustrating both. The main purpose of this paper is to develop this position for the example of phase transitions. We take it that emergence involves behaviour that is novel compared with what is expected: often, what is expected from a theory of the system's microscopic constituents. We take reduction as deduction, aided by appropriate definitions. Then the main idea of our reconciliation of emergence (...)
  30. Ernest Nagel's Philosophy of Science: A Study in Contextualistic Naturalism.Raymond Earl Harlan - unknown
  31. Intracellular Calcium: Its Universal Role as Regulator By Anthony K. Campbell.Harry A. Fozzard - 1985 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 28 (4):638-639.
  32. The Ovary of Eve: Egg and Sperm and Preformation By Clara Pinto-Correia.Sander L. Gilman - 1998 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 42 (1):145-146.
  33. Non-Energetic Powers of Nutrition.Hans Kaunitz - 1958 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 2 (1):75-83.
  34. The Structure of the World: Metaphysics and Representation.Thomas Meier - 2014 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 28 (4):443-445.
  35. The Case Of The Brobdingnagian Lilliputian: A Swiftly Penned Reply to Shrader.Jack K. Horner - unknown
  36. The Place Of Processes In The Structure Of Reality.Jan Such - unknown - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 79:403-408.
  37. Reduction in the Abstract Sciences.Daniel A. Bonevac - 1982
  38. The World's Desires; or, the Results of Monism.Edgar A. Ashcroft - 1905
  39. Monism a Philosophic Tendency.Daniel Redmon - 1893
  40. Facts and Theories in Physical Thinking.Norwood Russell Hanson - 1956
  41. How Blind is the Watchmaker? Nature's Design & the Limits of Naturalistic Science.Neil Broom - 2001
  42. The Problem Of Reductionism.Nebil Reyhani - unknown - Yeditepe'de Felsefe (Philosophy at Yeditepe) 8.
  43. The Logic and Methodology of Reduction in the Physical and Biological Sciences.Kenneth Francis Schaffner - 1967 - Dissertation, Columbia University
  44. D. M. Armstrong's "The Nature of Mind and Other Essays". [REVIEW]Earl Conee - 1982 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 42 (4):622.
  45. Mellor, D. H. [1991]: "Matters of Metaphysics". [REVIEW]Barry Gower - 1992 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 43 (4):555.
  46. "The Nature of Physical Reality." By H. Margenau.E. H. Hutten - 1951 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 2 ([5/8]):81.
  47. Reduction and Emergence in the Philosophy of Michael Polanyi.Daniel Paksi - 2010 - Appraisal 8.
  48. Emergence and Reduction in Michael Polanyi.Daniel Paski - 2011 - Appraisal 8.
  49. Problem : Finality in the Physical Sciences.Herbert Thomas Schwartz - 1949 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 23:80.
  50. Micro-Determinism, Micro-Explanation and Concepts of Emergence.Robert Lewis Klee - 1982 - Dissertation, University of Michigan
    Contemporary scientific theories assume a predominantly micro-deterministic view of the world. This thesis examines the philosophical problems inherent in such a world-view. I begin with a characterization of micro-determination as a mode of determination in which higher-level macro-properties of a natural system are the result of lower-level micro-properties of that system. I argue that this conception of micro-determination presupposes a part-whole relation which derives from spatiotemporal proper inclusion. ;I next consider causal models of micro-determination. Humean and neo-Humean models are rejected (...)
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