Time is of the essence: Explanatory pluralism and accommodating theories about long-term processes

Philosophical Psychology 22 (5):611-635 (2009)

Robert N. McCauley
Emory University
Unified, all-purpose, philosophical models of reduction in science lack resources for capturing varieties of cross-scientific relations that have proven critical to understanding some scientific achievements. Not only do those models obscure the distinction between successional and cross-scientific relations, their preoccupations with the structures of both theories and things provide no means for accommodating the contributions to various sciences of theories and research about long-term diachronic processes involving large-scale, distributed systems. Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection is the parade case. Explanatory pluralism accommodates a wider range of connections between theories and inquiries in science than all-purpose models of reduction do. Consequently, it provides analytical tools for understanding the roles of the theoretical proposals about the evolution of the human mind/brain that have proliferated over the last two decades. Those proposals have testable implications pertaining to both structure and processing in the modern human mind/brain. An example of such research illustrates how those proposals and investigative tools and experiments cut across both explanatory levels and modes of analysis within the cognitive sciences and how those studies can yield evidence that bears on the assessment of competing theories and models
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/09515080903238906
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: 38,984
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.

View all 52 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Levels of Organization: A Deflationary Account.Markus I. Eronen - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (1):39-58.
Reports From the High Table.Adrian Currie - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (1):149-158.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
647 ( #4,221 of 2,319,637 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #440,827 of 2,319,637 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature