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

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

Authors
Robert N. McCauley
Emory University
Abstract
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
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DOI 10.1080/09515080903238906
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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.

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