Synthese 151 (3):445-475 (2006)

Authors
William C. Wimsatt
University of Minnesota
Abstract
Methodological reductionists practice ‘wannabe reductionism’. They claim that one should pursue reductionism, but never propose how. I integrate two strains in prior work to do so. Three kinds of activities are pursued as “reductionist”. “Successional reduction” and inter-level mechanistic explanation are legitimate and powerful strategies. Eliminativism is generally ill-conceived. Specific problem-solving heuristics for constructing inter-level mechanistic explanations show why and when they can provide powerful and fruitful tools and insights, but sometimes lead to erroneous results. I show how traditional metaphysical approaches fail to engage how science is done. The methods used do so, and support a pragmatic and non-eliminativist realism.
Keywords Aggregativity  Biases  Eliminativism  Heuristics  Identification  Inter-level explanation  Localization  Mechanism  Methodological reductionism  Problem-solving  Wannabe reductionism
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-006-9017-0
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References found in this work BETA

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
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Citations of this work BETA

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The Unity of Science.Jordi Cat - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Cancer and the Goals of Integration.Anya Plutynski - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (4):466-476.

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