Edited by John Donaldson (University of Glasgow)
|Summary||Psychophysical reduction comes in two main forms: theoretical or ontological. The former involves showing that psychological theory can be appropriately derived from physical theory, the latter involves showing that psychological entities are identical to physical entities. One can be a reductionist, and hold that the psychological reduces to the physical, or deny this and be a non-reductionist. Despite the first reductionists, such as J. J. C. Smart and Herbert Feigl, starting the debate by defending the ontological rather than theoretical form, until recently most of the discussion of the prospects for reductionism focussed on the theoretical form, with many holding that psychological theory cannot be appropriately derived from physical theory. Towards the end of the twentieth century, non-reductionism (of the materialist sort) was overwhelmingly dominant, but reductionism has gone through something of a revival since then, with ontological reductionism probably the most tenable form.|
|Key works||According to the standard story, the roots of reductionism terminate in the work of Place 1956; Feigl 1958; Oppenheim & Putnam 1958; and Smart 1959. The classic objections to reductionism can be found in the work of Putnam 1967, 1975; Davidson 1970; Fodor 1974; and Boyd 1980. The high watermark of non-reductionism can be found in Block 1997 and Fodor 1997. Since around the time that mark was reached, most discussion has proceeded in one of two directions. First, the basic terms of the debate have been questioned. For example, some have tried to defend a version of ontological reductionism while labelling it "non-reductionism" for some other reason, see Antony & Levine 1997; Clapp 2001, and Antony 2003. Second, the prospects for a revival of reductionism of one sort or another have been examined. See, for example: Hill 1991; Kim 1992, 1998, 2005; Block & Stalnaker 1999; Bechtel 1999; Gillett & Loewer 2007; Shapiro 2004; Polger 2004; Bickle 2008; 2010; Hohwy & Kallestrup 2008; Gozzano & Hill 2015; Gibb et al 2013. In the process of this, the nature of reduction has been debated - a survey of which can be found in van Riel 2014.|
|Introductions||The introduction to the collection edited by Gozzano and Hill (2015) is a good place to start, and that volume also contains much of the state of the art thinking on the prospects for reductionism. Kim 2005 is also a good way in. Enyclopedia entries include Smart 2007, and Bickle 2008, with the latter focussing on the multiple realization argument, which is often taken to be the main argument against reductionism.|
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