Reductionism as a Research Directive


Abstract
In this paper, I explore the possibilities for arriving at a useful conception of methodological reductionism. Some participants in the debate talk about methodological reductionism as a research program. I argue that the concept of a research program, at least in Lakatos’ sense, cannot account for the diverse nature of methodological reductionism. I then present my own concept of a research directive as a useful alternative and elaborate on this by drawing on Hasok Chang’s theory of ontological principles and epistemic activities. According to my view, the reductionist research directive can be characterized as consisting of the principles fundamental ontological homogeneity, part-whole asymmetry, and orderliness, together with the corresponding activities construction of identities, decomposition, and unification. I suggest that looking at reductionism in this way enables us to understand it as a gradual concept and thus go beyond the simplistic yes-or-no-questions that dominate many current debates on this topic
Keywords Reductionism  Lakatos  Unification  Decomposition  Epistemic activities
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s10838-014-9255-7
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 38,878
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge.Imre Lakatos & Alan Musgrave (eds.) - 1970 - Cambridge University Press.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.

View all 34 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Limits of Reductionism in the Life Sciences.Marie I. Kaiser - 2011 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 33 (4):453-476.
Can a Reductionist Be a Pluralist?Daniel Steel - 2004 - Biology and Philosophy 19 (1):55-73.
New Wave Psychophysical Reductionism and the Methodological Caveats.John Bickle - 1996 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 56 (1):57-78.
Knowing at Second Hand.Benjamin McMyler - 2007 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 50 (5):511 – 540.
Grene on Mechanism and Reductionism: More Than Just a Side Issue.Robert N. Brandon - 1984 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1984:345 - 353.
Is the Brain a Memory Box?Anne Jaap Jacobson - 2005 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 4 (3):271-278.
Reductionism in a Historical Science.Alex Rosenberg - 2001 - Philosophy of Science 68 (2):135-163.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2014-07-01

Total views
15 ( #461,861 of 2,319,040 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #326,419 of 2,319,040 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature