Mass additivity and a priori entailment

Synthese 192 (5):1373-1392 (2015)
Authors
Kelvin J. McQueen
Chapman University
Abstract
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 reduction that is prominent in the philosophy of mind. Nonetheless, I argue that a reconstruction of the explanation that incorporates distinctively philosophical concepts in fact fits both theories. I discuss the implications of this result for both theories and for the reductive explanation of consciousness.
Keywords Reduction  Explanation  Mass additivity  Nagel   Newtonian mechanics  A priori entailment  Scrutability  Consciousness
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-014-0627-7
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References found in this work BETA

New Work for a Theory of Universals.David Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
Constructing the World.David Chalmers - 2012 - Oxford University Press.
Does Conceivability Entail Possibility?David J. Chalmers - 2002 - In Tamar S. Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 145--200.
Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness.David J. Chalmers - 1995 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 2 (3):200-19.

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Brute Necessity.James Van Cleve - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (9):e12516.

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