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  1. Indefinitely Descending Ground.Einar Duenger Bohn - forthcoming - In Ricki Bliss & Graham Priest (eds.), Reality and its Structure. Oxford University Press.
    In this paper I argue against grounding being necessarily well-founded, and provide some reasons to think it's actually not well-founded.
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  2. Can Multiple Realisation Be Explained?Alexander Franklin - forthcoming - Philosophy.
    Multiple realisation prompts the question: how is it that multiple systems all exhibit the same phenomena despite their different underlying properties? In this paper I develop a framework for addressing that question and argue that multiple realisation can be reductively explained. I illustrate this position by applying the framework to a simple example – the multiple realisation of electrical conductivity. I defend my account by addressing potential objections: contra (e.g.) Polger and Shapiro (2016), Batterman (2018), and Sober (1999), I claim (...)
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  3. Special-Science Autonomy and the Division of Labor.Michael Strevens - forthcoming - In Mark Couch & Jessica Pfeifer (eds.), The Philosophy of Philip Kitcher.
    Philip Kitcher has advocated and advanced an influential antireductionist picture of science on which the higher-level sciences pursue their aims largely independently of the lower-level sciences -- a view of the sciences as autonomous. Explanatory autonomy as Kitcher understands it is incompatible with explanatory reductionism, the view that a high-level explanation is inevitably improved by providing a lower-level explanation of its parts. This paper explores an alternative conception of autonomy based on another major theme of Kitcher's philosophy of science: the (...)
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  4. Should Explanations Omit the Details?Darren Bradley - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (3):827-853.
    There is a widely shared belief that the higher-level sciences can provide better explanations than lower-level sciences. But there is little agreement about exactly why this is so. It is often suggested that higher-level explanations are better because they omit details. I will argue instead that the preference for higher-level explanations is just a special case of our general preference for informative, logically strong, beliefs. I argue that our preference for informative beliefs entirely accounts for why higher-level explanations are sometimes (...)
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  5. Causal Powers and Social Ontology.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2020 - Synthese 197 (3):1357-1377.
    Over the last few decades, philosophers and social scientists have applied the so-called powers ontology to the social domain. I argue that this application is highly problematic: many of the alleged powers in the social realm violate the intrinsicality condition, and those that can be coherently taken to be intrinsic to their bearers are arguably causally redundant. I end the paper by offering a diagnosis of why philosophers and social scientists have been tempted to think that there are powers in (...)
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  6. In What Sense Are Mental Disorders Brain Disorders? Explicating the Concept of Mental Disorder Within RDoC.Marko Jurjako & Luca Malatesti - 2020 - Phenomenology and Mind 18:182-198.
    Recently there has been a trend of moving towards biological and neurocognitive based classifications of mental disorders that is motivated by a dissatisfaction with the syndrome-based classifications of mental disorders. The Research Domain Criteria (indicated with the acronym RDoC) represents a bold and systematic attempt to foster this advancement. However, RDoC faces theoretical and conceptual issues that need to be addressed. Some of these difficulties emerge when we reflect on the plausible reading of the slogan “mental disorders are brain disorders”, (...)
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  7. Two notions of holism.Elizabeth Miller - 2020 - Synthese 197 (10):4187-4206.
    A simple argument proposes a direct link between realism about quantum mechanics and one kind of metaphysical holism: if elementary quantum theory is at least approximately true, then there are entangled systems with intrinsic whole states for which the intrinsic properties and spatiotemporal arrangements of salient subsystem parts do not suffice. Initially, the proposal is compelling: we can find variations on such reasoning throughout influential discussions of entanglement. Upon further consideration, though, this simple argument proves a bit too simple. To (...)
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  8. Unification and the Myth of Purely Reductive Understanding.Michael J. Shaffer - 2020 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 27:142-168.
    In this paper significant challenges are raised with respect to the view that explanation essentially involves unification. These objections are raised specifically with respect to the well-known versions of unificationism developed and defended by Michael Friedman and Philip Kitcher. The objections involve the explanatory regress argument and the concepts of reduction and scientific understanding. Essentially, the contention made here is that these versions of unificationism wrongly assume that reduction secures understanding.
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  9. Generating Explanatory Gaps.B. Fiala & S. Nichols - 2019 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 26 (9-10):71-82.
    We develop a partial solution to the meta-problem of consciousness that builds on our previous psychological account of an apparent explanatory gap. Drawing from empirical work on explanatory cognition and conceptual development, we sketch a profile of cognitive systems for which primitive concepts facilitate explanatory gaps. This account predicts that there will be multiple explanatory gaps. We suggest that this is borne out by the existence of primitivist theories in multiple philosophical domains.
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  10. A Psychologistic Theory of Metaphysical Explanation.Kristie Miller & James Norton - 2019 - Synthese 196 (7):2777-2802.
    Many think that sentences about what metaphysically explains what are true iff there exist grounding relations. This suggests that sceptics about grounding should be error theorists about metaphysical explanation. We think there is a better option: a theory of metaphysical explanation which offers truth conditions for claims about what metaphysically explains what that are not couched in terms of grounding relations, but are instead couched in terms of, inter alia, psychological facts. We do not argue that our account is superior (...)
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  11. What is Wrong with Self-Grounding?David Kovacs - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (6):1157-1180.
    Many philosophers embrace grounding, supposedly a central notion of metaphysics. Grounding is widely assumed to be irreflexive, but recently a number of authors have questioned this assumption: according to them, it is at least possible that some facts ground themselves. The primary purpose of this paper is to problematize the notion of self-grounding through the theoretical roles usually assigned to grounding. The literature typically characterizes grounding as at least playing two central theoretical roles: a structuring role and an explanatory role. (...)
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  12. Online Overview Article: Reductionism.Jan G. Michel - 2018 - SDA, Digital Humanities Project, Oxford University.
  13. The Future of the Reduction and Emergence Debate?: Carl Gillett: Reduction and Emergence in Science and Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016, 389 Pp, £64.99 HB.Petri Ylikoski - 2018 - Metascience 27 (2):317-321.
  14. Kim on Reductive Explanation.Neil Campbell - 2015 - Acta Analytica 30 (2):149-156.
    In the light of what appear to be clear counterexamples, I argue that Jaegwon Kim’s comparative evaluation of functional reduction and reduction via necessary identities is problematic. I trace the problem to two sources: a misplaced metaphysical assumption about the explanatory role of identities and an excessively strong and narrow criterion for successful reductive explanation. Appreciating where Kim’s critique runs astray enhances our understanding of the role of necessary identities in reductive explanation.
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  15. Levels of Organization: A Deflationary Account.Markus Eronen - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (1):39-58.
    The idea of levels of organization plays a central role in the philosophy of the life sciences. In this article, I first examine the explanatory goals that have motivated accounts of levels of organization. I then show that the most state-of-the-art and scientifically plausible account of levels of organization, the account of levels of mechanism proposed by Bechtel and Craver, is fundamentally problematic. Finally, I argue that the explanatory goals can be reached by adopting a deflationary approach, where levels of (...)
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  16. Mass Additivity and a Priori Entailment.Kelvin J. McQueen - 2015 - Synthese 192 (5):1373-1392.
    The principle of mass additivity states that the mass of a composite object is the sum of the masses of its elementary components. Mass additivity is true in Newtonian mechanics but false in special relativity. Physicists have explained why mass additivity is true in Newtonian mechanics by reducing it to Newton’s microphysical laws. This reductive explanation does not fit well with deducibility theories of reductive explanation such as the modern Nagelian theory of reduction, and the a priori entailment theory of (...)
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  17. The Concept of Reduction.Raphael van Riel - 2014 - Springer.
    This volume investigates the notion of reduction. Building on the idea that philosophers employ the term ‘reduction’ to reconcile diversity and directionality with unity, without relying on elimination, the book offers a powerful explication of an “ontological” notion of reduction the extension of which is (primarily) formed by properties, kinds, individuals, or processes. It argues that related notions of reduction, such as theory-reduction and functional reduction, should be defined in terms of this explication. Thereby, the book offers a coherent framework, (...)
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  18. Scientific Reduction.Raphael van Riel & Robert Van Gulick - 2014 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  19. Grounding Relation(S): Introduction.Paul Hovda & Troy Cross - 2013 - Essays in Philosophy 14 (1):1-6.
  20. Getting Grounded: Essays in the Metaphysics of Fundamentality.Alexander Skiles - 2013 - Dissertation, University of Notre Dame
    When doing metaphysics, it is frequently convenient and sometimes essential to rely upon various notions of fundamentality when articulating the problems, positions, and arguments at issue. But what it is, exactly, the relevant notions are supposed to track remains obscure. The goal of this dissertation is to develop and defend a theory about the metaphysics of fundamentality; by doing so, I clarify and vindicate the roles that notions of fundamentality play in metaphysics. At the theory’s core are two notions particularly (...)
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  21. Identity, Asymmetry, and the Relevance of Meanings for Models of Reduction.Raphael van Riel - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (4):747-761.
    Assume that water reduces to H2O. If so water is identical to H2O. At the same time, if water reduces to H2O then H2O does not reduce to water–the reduction relation is asymmetric. This generates a puzzle–if water just is H2O it is hard to see how we can account for the asymmetry of the reduction relation. The paper proposes a solution to this puzzle. It is argued that the reduction predicate generates intensional contexts and that in order to account (...)
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  22. Property Identity and Reductive Explanation.Ansgar Beckermann - 2012 - In Hill Christopher & Gozzano Simone (eds.), New Perspectives on Type Identity: The Mental and the Physical. Cambridge University Press. pp. 66.
  23. The Explanatory Role of Irreducible Properties.Michael Strevens - 2012 - Noûs 46 (4):754-780.
    I aim to reconcile two apparently conflicting theses: (a) Everything that can be explained, can be explained in purely physical terms, that is, using the machinery of fundamental physics, and (b) some properties that play an explanatory role in the higher level sciences are irreducible in the strong sense that they are physically undefinable: their nature cannot be described using the vocabulary of physics. I investigate the contribution that physically undefinable properties typically make to explanations in the high-level sciences, and (...)
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  24. Indispensability Arguments in Favour of Reductive Explanations.Jeroen Van Bouwel, Erik Weber & Leen De Vreese - 2011 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (1):33-46.
    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 (...)
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  25. Functionalist Response-Dependence Avoids Missing Explanations.D. J. Bradley - 2011 - Analysis 71 (2):297-300.
    I argue that there is a flaw in the way that response-dependence has been formulated in the literature, and this flawed formulation has been correctly attacked by Mark Johnston’s Missing Explanation Argument (1993, 1998). Moving to a better formulation, which is analogous to the move from behaviourism to functionalism, avoids the Missing Explanation Argument.
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  26. Explanation in Biology: Reduction, Pluralism, and Explanatory Aims.Ingo Brigandt - 2011 - Science & Education 22 (1):69-91.
    This essay analyzes and develops recent views about explanation in biology. Philosophers of biology have parted with the received deductive-nomological model of scientific explanation primarily by attempting to capture actual biological theorizing and practice. This includes an endorsement of different kinds of explanation (e.g., mathematical and causal-mechanistic), a joint study of discovery and explanation, and an abandonment of models of theory reduction in favor of accounts of explanatory reduction. Of particular current interest are philosophical accounts of complex explanations that appeal (...)
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  27. COMPARING PART-WHOLE REDUCTIVE EXPLANATIONS IN BIOLOGY AND PHYSICS.Alan C. Love & Andreas Hüttemann - 2011 - In Dennis Dieks, Wenceslao Gonzalo, Thomas Uebel, Stephan Hartmann & Marcel Weber (eds.), Explanation, Prediction, and Confirmation. Springer. pp. 183--202.
    Many biologists and philosophers have worried that importing models of reasoning from the physical sciences obscures our understanding of reasoning in the life sciences. In this paper we discuss one example that partially validates this concern: part-whole reductive explanations. Biology and physics tend to incorporate different models of temporality in part-whole reductive explanations. This results from differential emphases on compositional and causal facets of reductive explanations, which have not been distinguished reliably in prior philosophical analyses. Keeping these two facets distinct (...)
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  28. Two Conceptions of Fundamentality.Mariam Thalos - 2011 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 41 (2):151-177.
    This article aims to show that fundamentality is construed differently in the two most prominent strategies of analysis we find in physical science and engineering today: (1) atomistic, reductive analysis and (2) Systems analysis. Correspondingly, atomism is the conception according to which the simplest (smallest) indivisible entity of a certain kind is most fundamental; while systemism , as will be articulated here, is the conception according to which the bonds that structure wholes are most fundamental, and scale and/or constituting entities (...)
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  29. The Downs and Ups of Mechanistic Research: Circadian Rhythm Research as an Exemplar. [REVIEW]William Bechtel - 2010 - Erkenntnis 73 (3):313 - 328.
    In the context of mechanistic explanation, reductionistic research pursues a decomposition of complex systems into their component parts and operations. Using research on the mechanisms responsible for circadian rhythms, I consider both the gains that have been made by discovering genes and proteins that figure in these intracellular oscillators and also highlight the increasingly recognized need to understand higher-level integration, both between cells in the central oscillator and between the central and peripheral oscillators. This history illustrates a common need to (...)
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  30. Identity-Based Reduction and Reductive Explanation.Raphael van Riel - 2010 - Philosophia Naturalis 47 (1-2):183-219.
    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.
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  31. A Priori Entailment and Conceptual Analysis: Making Room for Type-C Physicalism.J. L. Dowell - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (1):93 – 111.
    One strategy for blocking Chalmers's overall case against physicalism has been to deny his claim that showing that phenomenal properties are in some sense physical requires an a priori entailment of the phenomenal truths from the physical ones. Here I avoid this well-trodden ground and argue instead that an a priori entailment of the phenomenal truths from the physical ones does not require an analysis in the Jackson/Chalmers sense. This is to sever the dualist's link between conceptual analysis and a (...)
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  32. Reduction and Reductive Explanation : Is One Possible Without the Other?Jaegwon Kim - 2008 - In Jakob Hohwy & Jesper Kallestrup (eds.), Being Reduced: New Essays on Reduction, Explanation, and Causation. Oxford University Press.
  33. CP Laws, Reduction, and Explanatory Pluralism.Peter Lipton - 2008 - In Jakob Hohwy & Jesper Kallestrup (eds.), Being Reduced: New Essays on Reduction, Explanation, and Causation. Oxford University Press.
  34. Is Psychological Explanation Going Extinct?Cory Wright - 2007 - In Huib Looren de Jong & Maurice Schouten (eds.), The Matter of the Mind: Philosophical Essays on Psychology, Neuroscience and Reduction. Oxford: Blackwell.
    Psychoneural reductionists sometimes claim that sufficient amounts of lower-level explanatory achievement preclude further contributions from higher-level psychological research. Ostensibly, with nothing left to do, the effect of such preclusion on psychological explanation is extinction. Reductionist arguments for preclusion have recently involved a reorientation within the philosophical foundations of neuroscience---namely, away from the philosophical foundations and toward the neuroscience. In this chapter, I review a successful reductive explanation of an aspect of reward function in terms of dopaminergic operations of the mesocorticolimbic (...)
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  35. Philosophical Issues in Experimental Biology.Ingo Brigandt - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (3):423–435.
    Review essay of The Philosophy of Experimental Biology by Marcel Weber (Cambridge University Press, 2005).
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  36. Modes of Irreductibility of Emergent Properties.Charbel Niño El-Hani & João Queiroz - 2005 - Scientiae Studia 3 (1):9-41.
  37. Realism and Reduction: The Quest for Robustness.Mark Schroeder - 2005 - Philosophers' Imprint 5:1-18.
    It doesn’t seem possible to be a realist about the traditional Christian God while claiming to be able to reduce God talk in naturalistically acceptable terms. Reduction, in this case, seems obviously eliminativist. Many philosophers seem to think that the same is true of the normative—that reductive “realists” about the normative are not really realists about the normative at all, or at least, only in some attenuated sense. This paper takes on the challenge of articulating what it is that makes (...)
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  38. Commentary on John Dupré’s Human Nature and the Limits of Science. [REVIEW]Daniel C. Dennett - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (2):473–483.
    Suppose we discovered that all the women in the Slobbovian culture exhibit a strong preference for blue-handled knives and red-handled forks. They would rather starve than eat with utensils of the wrong color. We’d be rightly puzzled, and eager to find an explanation. ‘Well,” these women tell us, “blue-handled knives are snazzier, you know. And just look at them: these red-handled forks are, well, just plain beautiful!” This should not satisfy us. Why do they say this? Their answers may make (...)
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  39. The Role of Dispositions in Explanations.Agustín Vicente - 2004 - Theoria 19 (3):301-310.
    According to a model defended by some authors, dispositional predicates, or concepts, can be legitimately used in causal explanations, but such a use is not necessary. For every explanation couched in dispositional terms, there is always a better, and complete, explanation that makes use of a different vocabulary, that of categorial bases. In what follows, I will develop this view, and then argue that there is a kind of use of dispositions in explanations that does not fall within this model. (...)
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  40. Review of John Bickle's Philosophy of Neuroscience: A Ruthlessly Reductive Approach. [REVIEW]Cory Wright - 2004 - Theory and Psychology 14:855–857.
  41. Review of Robert W. Batterman, The Devil in the Details: Asymptotic Reasoning in Explanation, Reduction and Emergence[REVIEW]C. A. Hooker - 2002 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2002 (10).
  42. Behavior at the Organismal and Molecular Levels: The Case of C. Elegans.Kenneth F. Schaffner - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (3):288.
    Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) is a tiny worm that has become the focus of a large number of worldwide research projects examining its genetics, development, neuroscience, and behavior. Recently several groups of investigators have begun to tie together the behavior of the organism and the underlying genes, neural circuits, and molecular processes implemented in those circuits. Behavior is quintessentially organismal--it is the organism as a whole that moves and mates--but the explanations are devised at the molecular and neurocircuit levels, and (...)
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  43. Molecular Shape, Reduction, Explanation and Approximate Concepts.Jeffry L. Ramsey - 1997 - Synthese 111 (3):233-251.
  44. David Owens on Levels of Explanation.Karen Neander & Peter Menzies - 1990 - Mind 99 (395):459-466.
  45. The Problem of Micro-Explanation.T. R. Girill - 1976 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1976:47-55.
    There seem to exist special conditions unique to those scientific explanations which exmploy micro-parts under which alone such explanations are considered intellectually adequate. Two attempts to specify these conditions have been endorsed since antiquity, but serious counter-examples exist for each one. This paper contends that only in certain circumstances may each of the traditional criteria of adequacy be regarded as acceptable, identifies these circumstances, and examines the consequences of adopting such a dualistic or contextual solution to the problem of micro-explanation.
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  46. On Some Patterns of Reduction.Clark Glymour - 1970 - Philosophy of Science 37 (3):340-353.
    The notion of reduction in the natural sciences has been assimilated to the notion of inter-theoretical explanation. Many philosophers of science (following Nagel) have held that the apparently ontological issues involved in reduction should be replaced by analyses of the syntactic and semantic connections involved in explaining one theory on the basis of another. The replacement does not seem to have been especially successful, for we still lack a plausible account of inter-theoretical explanation. I attempt to provide one.
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