In Mark Couch & Jessica Pfeifer (eds.), The Philosophy of Philip Kitcher (forthcoming)

Authors
Michael Strevens
New York University
Abstract
Philip Kitcher has advocated and advanced an influential antireductionist picture of science on which the higher-level sciences pursue their aims largely independently of the lower-level sciences -- a view of the sciences as autonomous. Explanatory autonomy as Kitcher understands it is incompatible with explanatory reductionism, the view that a high-level explanation is inevitably improved by providing a lower-level explanation of its parts. This paper explores an alternative conception of autonomy based on another major theme of Kitcher's philosophy of science: the importance of the division of cognitive labor. That the sciences are in practice autonomous is compatible with reductionism, I argue, if we understand the high-level sciences' systematic explanatory disregard of lower-level details of implementation as practically, rather than intellectually, motivated.
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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.
The Structure of Science.Ernest Nagel - 1961 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):275-275.

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