Models of reduction and categories of reductionism

Synthese 91 (3):167-94 (1992)

Authors
Sahotra Sarkar
University of Texas at Austin
Abstract
  A classification of models of reduction into three categories — theory reductionism, explanatory reductionism, and constitutive reductionism — is presented. It is shown that this classification helps clarify the relations between various explications of reduction that have been offered in the past, especially if a distinction is maintained between the various epistemological and ontological issues that arise. A relatively new model of explanatory reduction, one that emphasizes that reduction is the explanation of a whole in terms of its parts is also presented in detail. Finally, the classification is used to clarify the debate over reductionism in molecular biology. It is argued there that while no model from the category of theory reduction might be applicable in that case, models of explanatory reduction might yet capture the structure of the relevant explanations
Keywords Model  Reductionism  Science
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DOI 10.1007/BF00413566
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References found in this work BETA

Mental Events.Donald Davidson - 1970 - In L. Foster & J. W. Swanson (eds.), Essays on Actions and Events. Clarendon Press. pp. 207-224.
Studies in the Logic of Explanation.Carl G. Hempel & Paul Oppenheim - 1948 - Philosophy of Science 15 (2):135-175.

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Citations of this work BETA

Beyond Reduction: Mechanisms, Multifield Integration and the Unity of Neuroscience.Carl F. Craver - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 36 (2):373-395.
Nonreductive Individualism: Part I—Supervenience and Wild Disjunction.R. Keith Sawyer - 2002 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 32 (4):537-559.
Part-Whole Science.Rasmus Winther - 2011 - Synthese 178 (3):397-427.
Reductionism, Emergence, and Effective Field Theories.Elena Castellani - 2000 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 33 (2):251-267.

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