dunnettreader + reductionism   23

Political science is divided between methodological individualists, who seek to explain political phenomena by reference to individuals and their interactions, and holists (or nonreductionists), who consider some higher-level social entities or properties such as states, institutions, or cultures ontologically or causally significant. We propose a reconciliation between these two perspectives, building on related work in philosophy. After laying out a taxonomy of different variants of each view, we observe that (i) although political phenomena result from underlying individual attitudes and behavior, individual-level descriptions do not always capture all explanatorily salient properties, and (ii) nonreductionistic explanations are mandated when social regularities are robust to changes in their individual-level realization. We characterize the dividing line between phenomena requiring nonreductionistic explanation and phenomena permitting individualistic explanation and give examples from the study of ethnic conflicts, social-network theory, and international-relations theory. - downloaded via iphone to Dbox
positivism  emergence  reductionism  causation-social  critical_realism  epistemology-social  article  methodology  jstor  social_history  causation  downloaded  philosophy_of_social_science  individualism-methodology 
july 2017 by dunnettreader
Eric Schwitzgebel - Crazyist Metaphysics of Mind (2014) Australasian Journal of Philosophy: Vol 92, No 4
Crazyism about X is the view that something it would be crazy to believe must be among the core truths about X. In this essay, I argue that crazyism is true of the metaphysics of mind. A position is ‘crazy’ in the intended sense if it is contrary to common sense and we are not epistemically compelled to believe it. Crazyism can be treated as the conjunction of two sub-theses: (1) that something contrary to common sense must be true and (2) that whatever that true thing is, we are not epistemically compelled to believe it. I defend the first thesis on grounds of the probable incoherence of folk metaphysics, from which it follows that any fully fleshed-out metaphysics will inevitably conflict with some piece of that incoherent story. I defend the second thesis on three grounds: peer disagreement, lack of a compelling method for resolving metaphysical disputes about the mind, and the dubiousness of the general cosmological claims with which metaphysical claims about the mind are entangled. -- Keywords: common sense, consciousness, dualism, idealism, materialism, metaphilosophy, metaphysics, -- downloaded to Tab S2
article  metaphysics  mind  epistemology  folk_psychology  cosmology  dualism  idealism  materialism  consciousness  reductionism  naturalism  downloaded 
september 2016 by dunnettreader
Ilkka Pyysiainen - Religon: From mind to society and back (2012) | Academia.edu
Book chapter - Exploring the cognitive basis of the social sciences and trying to ground the social in the cognitive requires taking an explicit stance on reduction(ism) as discussed in philosophy of science. In social science and the humanities, the question of reductionism has been especially salient in the study of religion. This chapter begins with a philosophical analysis of reduction; after that, two relatively new research programs in the study of religious thought and behavior are discussed: the standard model of the cognitive science of religion and approaches based on gene-culture coevolutionary theories. Finally, the question of reductionism is addressed and the possibility of combining multilevel explanations of religious phenomena is evaluated. -- Downloaded to Tab S2
chapter  Academia.edu  downloaded  cognitive_science  religion  philosophy_of_science  philosophy_of_social_science  level_of_analysis  reductionism  religious_belief  religious_experience  neuroscience  cognition  cognition-social  gene-culture_coevolution  cultural_transmission  cultural_change  sociology_of_religion  naturalism  natural_selection  evolution-social  evolution-as-model  evolution-group_selection 
august 2016 by dunnettreader
Edward Slingerland - What Science Offers the Humanities: Integrating Body and Culture | Cambridge University Press (2008)
What Science Offers the Humanities examines some of the deep problems facing current approaches to the study of culture. It focuses especially on the excesses of postmodernism, but also acknowledges serious problems with postmodernism's harshest critics. In short, Edward Slingerland argues that in order for the humanities to progress, its scholars need to take seriously contributions from the natural sciences—and particular research on human cognition—which demonstrate that any separation of the mind and the body is entirely untenable. The author provides suggestions for how humanists might begin to utilize these scientific discoveries without conceding that science has the last word on morality, religion, art, and literature. Calling into question such deeply entrenched dogmas as the "blank slate" theory of nature, strong social constructivism, and the ideal of disembodied reason, Slingerland replaces the human-sciences divide with a more integrated approach to the study of culture. --
Part I. Exorcising the Ghost in the Machine:
1. The disembodied mind
2. They live among us
3. Pulling the plug
Part II. Embodying Culture:
4. Embodying culture
Part III. Defending Vertical Integration:
5. Defending the empirical
6. Who's afraid of reductionism?
Edward Slingerland, University of British Columbia, Vancouver - taught in the School of Religion and Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at USC.... currently Associate Professor of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia and is Canada Research Chair in Chinese Thought and Embodied Cognition. His previous books include The Annalects of Confucius and Effortless Action: Wu-wei as Conceptual Metaphor and Spiritual Ideal in Early China, which won the American Academy of Religion's 2003 Best First Book in the History of Religions Award. -- downloaded Intro
books  kindle-available  downloaded  humanities  philosophy_of_social_science  cognition  mind  philosophy_of_religion  human_nature  Chinese_thought  embodied_cognition  naturalism  reductionism  postmodern  two_cultures  constructivism  cultural_history  religious_history  social_theory  sociology_of_knowledge 
june 2016 by dunnettreader
Consciousness (pages 11-18) | Symposion. Theoretical and Applied Inquiries in Philosophy and Social Sciences - Jan 2015
Nicholas Rescher

ABSTRACT: Consciousness is sometimes viewed as a particular parametric factor in the analogy of blood pressure or electric charge. The paper argues that this is an erroneous conception becomes consciousness involves a varied assortment of different phenomena that have no single unified commonality. And so even as ‘abnormal psychology’ has to be a disjointed assembly of diverse specialties so will ‘consciousness studies’ have to be.
neuroscience  article  mind-body  philosophy_of_science  reductionism  human_nature  psychology  downloaded  consciousness  mind 
may 2016 by dunnettreader
Jared P. Friedman and Anthony I. Jack - Mapping cognitive structure onto philosophical debate re problems of consciousness, free will and ethics | Minds Online - Sept 2015 - Session 1 - Social Cognition
Mapping cognitive structure onto the landscape of philosophical debate: An empirical framework with relevance to problems of consciousness, free will and ethics -- Department of Philosophy and Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence, Case Western Reserve University -- There are some seemingly intractable questions that have remained at the heart of philosophical discourse since they were first asked. Is the mind distinct from the brain or are we just physical stuff? Are we autonomous agents or merely at the mercy of the causal and mechanistic laws of nature? When, if ever, is it acceptable to sacrifice one for the greater good of many? That these questions have remained at the heart of philosophy for so long, and that their ‘solutions’ (e.g., monism vs. dualism) seem to be incommensurable with each other, strikes us as enigmatic. Might the intractable nature of these and other appropriately identified problems reflect something peculiar about us rather than something peculiar about the way the world is? (...) This account maintains that the difficulties reconciling markedly different philosophical responses to these three questions arise from an unavoidable tension between two anatomically independent and functionally inhibitory neural networks, both of which are essential to human understanding. This account is motivated by the observation that both philosophers and non-philosophers experience difficulty in reconciling competing responses to these questions. -- downloaded pdf to Note
paper  conference  cognition  antimonies  consciousness  mind-body  neuroscience  determinism  free_will  naturalism  physicalism  reductionism  causation  moral_philosophy  metaethics  intuitions  brain  experimental_philosophy  analytical_philosophy  James_William  monism  dualism  downloaded 
september 2015 by dunnettreader
Emmanuel Bezy, review - Pascale Gillot, L’esprit, figures classiques et contemporaines - Histoire du mind-body problem - La Vie des idées - 10 janvier 2008
Pascale Gillot, L’esprit, figures classiques et contemporaines, Paris, CNRS Editions, 2007, 315 p., 30 euros. -- Si l’esprit et le corps sont des substances séparées et distinctes, comment peuvent-ils agir l’un sur l’autre ? P. Gillot montre dans son ouvrage les différentes réponses que la philosophie de l’esprit a apportées au problème ainsi formulé par Descartes. Mais ces réponses parviennent difficilement, selon elle, à s’affranchir totalement du cartésianisme. -- L’ouvrage de Pascale Gillot peut se lire de deux manières, qui ne sont pas exclusives l’une de l’autre : il constitue à la fois une introduction à la philosophie de l’esprit et une mise en perspective de la philosophie de l’esprit contemporaine, telle qu’elle s’est développée aux Etats-Unis depuis le tournant cognitiviste. Pascale Gillot expose la construction du problème du corps et de l’esprit, puis elle met en évidence les rémanences de cette problématique de William James à Jaegwon Kim. -- downloaded pdf to Note
books  reviews  French_language  intellectual_history  17thC  18thC  20thC  21stC  mind  mind-body  cogito  Cartesian  Descartes  James_William  dualism  cognition  neuroscience  psychology  metaphysics  essence  substance  human_nature  analytical_philosophy  naturalism  reductionism  thinking_matter  downloaded 
july 2015 by dunnettreader
Chad Wellmon - The Thin Reed of Humanism | The Infernal Machine - Hedgehog Review - Jan 2015
Leon Wieseltier is at his cantankerous best in his latest essay (..) reprising many of the themes of his public feud with Steven Pinker in the pages of the New Republic(..) are cultural barometers of our impoverished cultural imagination concerning the relationship of science, the humanities, and technology. (..) he’s gesturing toward real concerns about the reductive materialism or naturalism that tends to underlie the work of popular polemicists like Dawkins, Dennet, and Pinker. He is not denying that our world and our selves can, in part, be explained through material mechanisms. When critics invoke “humanism” against “scientism” or “technologism,” they presume to know the proper boundaries of science and technology; they presume that they can readily and forcefully articulate where scientific knowledge ends and humanistic knowledge begins. They assume the role of guardians of our intellectual and ethical world. That’s a heavy burden. But it’s also a presumption that ignores how much of our knowledge comes from these border crossings. -- discusses etymology of "humanism" - 1808 Germany used contra Enlightenment-era education to develop "natural" capacities, treated by the author as privileging man the "animal" unlike "humanism" that sybordinated body to reason, etc. -- also cites James Schmidt's detective work re origins of "scientism"
cultural_critique  intellectual_history  19thC  20thC  21stC  scientistism  humanism  reductionism  human_nature  humanities  dualism  Enlightenment  Counter-Enlightenment  cultural_history  cultural_change  cultural_authority  scientific_culture  naturalism  technology  from instapaper
february 2015 by dunnettreader
Paul A. Lewis - An Analytical Core for Sociolgy: A Complex, Hayekian Analysis (2014, Review of Behavioral Economics, Forthcoming) :: SSRN
Lewis, Paul A., An Analytical Core for Sociolgy: A Complex, Hayekian Analysis (November 11, 2014). Review of Behavioral Economics, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2522810 -- King's College London - Department of Political Economy -- This paper develops a Hayekian perspective on Herbert Gintis, and Dirk Helbing's, attempts to develop a unified analytical approach to the social sciences. Like Hayek, Gintis and Helbing view both the economy, and also the human mind, as a complex adaptive system. Their emphasis on emergence, on group selection, on the social relations that structure people’s interactions, and on the importance of motivations stemming from so-called 'social preferences', sees them develop themes present in Hayek's own work, often in ways that build on and strengthen Hayek's own analysis. However, Gintis and Helbing's continued commitment to a model of people as maximising their expected utility, and to general equilibrium theory, arguably leaves them less able than Hayek to do justice to the importance of innovation, novelty and radical uncertainty in the economic process. -- Number of Pages in PDF File: 24 -- Keywords: Gintis, complexity, evolution, emergence, Hayek, reductionism, behavioral economics, equilibrium, order, uncertainty. -- downloaded pdf to Note
paper  SSRN  social_theory  Hayek  Gintis  complexity  complex_adaptive_systems  evolution-as-model  evolution-social  evolutionary_biology  evolution  emergence  behavioral_economics  behavioralism  evolution-group_seledtion  rationality-economics  rational_choice  rationality-bounded  utility  social_order  uncertainty  reductionism  equilibrium  Innovation  economic_theory  economic_sociology  downloaded  EF-add 
february 2015 by dunnettreader
George F.R. Ellis | Personal Page
Links to extensive number of books he has authored or co-authored and to speeches and papers -- Teaching and research interests: *-* General Relativity theory and its application to the study of the large-scale structure of the universe (cosmology). *-* The history and philosophy of cosmology. *-* Complex systems and emergence of complexity. *- * The human brain and behaviour. *-* Science policy, developmental issues. *-* Science and mathematics education. *-* The relation of science to religion.
philosophy_of_science  philosophy_of_religion  cosmology  physics  neuroscience  mind  mind-body  reductionism  causation  emergence  complexity  systems_theory  systems-complex_adaptive  science-and-religion  EF-add 
september 2014 by dunnettreader
John Horgan - Physicist George Ellis Knocks Physicists for Knocking Philosophy, Falsification, Free Will | Cross-Check, Scientific American Blog Network - July 2014
A native of South Africa, Ellis is professor emeritus at the U of Cape Town, where he taught for decades, and has also held positions at Cambridge, the U of Texas, the Fermi Institute and ...around the globe. He was an early critic of apartheid, and Mandela awarded him the Order of the Star of S.Africa. -- Horgan: At the conference where we met you were in a session called “The end of experiment.” What was that about? - Ellis: - many of the possible high-energy physics experiments and astronomy observations relevant to cosmology are now in essence nearly complete. Physics experiments are approaching the highest energies it will ever be possible to test by any collider experiment... We can’t build a collider bigger than the surface of the Earth. Thus our ability to test high energy physics – and hence structures on the smallest physical scales – is approaching its limits. Astronomical observations at all wavelengths are now probing the most distant cosmological events that will ever be “seeable” by any kinds of radiation whatever, because of visual horizons for each form of radiation. -- So what we can see at the largest and smallest scales is approaching what will ever be possible, except for refining the details. But I emphasize that this comment does not apply to complex systems. Complexity is almost unbounded – microbiology, biology, the brain will give us work to do for many centuries more, what we may find may be very unexpected. That might also apply to the foundations of quantum physics, and its relation to complexity. -- I concede that observations relevant to structure formation in the universe – galaxies, stars, planets – have a good while to go, they are in essence verging to the side of studying complexity, and still have life in them yet, they are very interesting studies.
physics  cosmology  astronomy  scientism  reductionism  complexity  metaphysics  creation  big_bang  free_will  philosophy_of_science  neuroscience  EF-add 
september 2014 by dunnettreader
Jack Miles - Tilting Against Naïve Materialism: On Thomas Nagel's "Mind and Cosmos" | The Los Angeles Review of Books - Feb 2013
Nagel is a professed scientific realist. He does not put scientific knowledge in scare quotes. He believes that reason is reliable and that science does engage reality. But when an account of the origin of reason that links it entirely to reproductive success has this self-subversive corollary, he chooses to trust reason and question the account rather than trust the account and question reason.Here, for this reviewer, is the core challenge, the core disturbance, of this challenging and intentionally disruptive work. Mind and Cosmos, which has been taken as an oblique defense of creationism, is actually a defense of reason. Yet it is also a fabulous effort of the imagination. The place of imagination, of fantasy, even of dream-life in the history of human thought is a large one. Nagel admits that he is not a scientist, but it would call for imagination and not just analysis for a scientist in any given field to begin thinking past contemporary science as a whole toward the contours of what might someday succeed it. Unless one is a scientific Whig, one must strongly suspect that something someday will indeed succeed it. Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos does not build a road to that destination, but it is much to have gestured toward a gap in the hills through which a road might someday run. -- Swift would agree
books  reviews  kindle-available  philosophy_of_science  evolutionary_biology  evolution  Darwinism  Nagel  reason  epistemology  teleology  monism  panpsychic_monism  materialism  reductionism  truth  Swift  historiography-Whig  history_of_science  consciousness  mind  cosmology  imagination  creativity  human_nature  evo_psych  EF-add 
august 2014 by dunnettreader
Anthony Chemero and Michael Silberstein - After the Philosophy of Mind: Replacing Scholasticism with Science | JSTOR: Philosophy of Science, Vol. 75, No. 1 (January 2008), pp. 1-27
We provide a taxonomy of the two most important debates in the philosophy of the cognitive and neural sciences. The first debate is over methodological individualism: is the object of the cognitive and neural sciences the brain, the whole animal, or the animal—environment system? The second is over explanatory style: should explanation in cognitive and neural science be reductionist‐mechanistic, interlevel mechanistic, or dynamical? After setting out the debates, we discuss the ways in which they are interconnected. Finally, we make some recommendations that we hope will help philosophers interested in the cognitive and neural sciences to avoid dead ends. -- partially a lit survey so good bibliography -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  jstor  philosophy_of_science  metaphysics  mind  mind-body  neuroscience  reductionism  mechanism  cognition  ontology  methodology  levels_of_analyis  critical_realism  emergence  individualism-methodology  unit_of_analysis  bibliography  downloaded  EF-add 
august 2014 by dunnettreader
Mark C. Modak-Truran, Mississippi College School of Law -- Two contemporary quandaries in legal theory provide an occasion for a revival of interest in natural law theories of law. First, the debate about legal indeterminacy has made it clear that law cannot function autonomously—as a self-contained set of rules—but requires a normative justification of judges’ decisions in hard cases. In addition, Steven D. Smith has persuasively argued that there is an "ontological gap" between the practice of law, which presupposes a classical or religious ontology, and legal theory, which presupposes a scientific ontology (i.e., scientific materialism) that rejects religious ontology. This article demonstrates how the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead and the radical empiricism of William James support a new process theory of natural law. Under this theory, judges resolve legal indeterminacy by determining what maximizes the telos beauty—in accordance with the circumstances of the case and the social perfection possible within that society—rather than by relying on fixed, antiquated natural laws. Process natural law also closes the ontological gap by providing an ontology that unifies the moral insights of religion with the insights of modern science. -- Mark C. Modak-Truran. "PROLEGOMENA TO A PROCESS THEORY OF NATURAL LAW" HANDBOOK OF WHITEHEADIAN PROCESS THOUGHT (1st ed). Ed. Michel Weber and Will Desmond. Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag, 2008. 507-536. -- downloaded pdf to Note
philosophy_of_law  political_philosophy  legal_history  legal_theory  natural_law  foundationalism  anti-foundationalism  social_theory  process_theology  laws_of_nature  divine_command  divine_right  legitimacy  authority  Whitehead  James_William  moral_philosophy  materialism  reductionism  science-and-religion  theology  ancient_philosophy  republics-Ancient_v_Modern  pragmatism  legal_indeterminancy  downloaded  EF-add 
july 2014 by dunnettreader
Giuseppina D’Oro - Le fossé dans l’explication n’est pas épistémologique mais sémantique | Érudit | Philosophiques v36 n1 2009, p. 183-192 |
Giuseppina D’Oro - Université de Keele -- Traduction de l’anglais par Jérôme Havenel -- This paper explores an alternative to the metaphysical challenge to physicalism posed by Jackson and Kripke and to the epistemological one exemplified by the positions of Nagel, Levine and Mcginn. On this alternative the mind-body gap is neither ontological nor epistemological, but semantic. I claim that it is because the gap is semantic that the mind body-problem is a quintessentially philosophical problem that is not likely to wither away as our natural scientific knowledge advances. -- downloaded pdf to Note
metaphysics  ontology  epistemology  mind-body  consciousness  concepts  semantics  analytical_philosophy  Kripke  Nagel  reductionism  physicalism  naturalism  idealism  downloaded  EF-add 
june 2014 by dunnettreader
Daniel D. Hutto - Consciousness Demystified: A Wittgensteinian Critique of Dennett’s Project | 1995. The Monist. 78:4. 464–478. - Academia.edu
I challenge the idea that the 'reductive character' of Dennett's project is in any way Wittgensteinian in spirit. I suggest that at a crucial point in their philosophy their views diverge significantly. That is to say, although they are good travelling companions up to an important cross-roads, in the end, their incompatible concerns take them in different directions. Furthermore, by reviewing Dennett's project of 'explaining' consciousness, we might begin to see some good reasons for preferring Wittgenstein's 'road less travelled'. Thus, although Dennett's account of consciousness is often given a centre stage in what follows, my ultimate aim is to throw light on the nature Wittgenstein's philosophical psychology by using Dennett as a foil. This should help us to see precisely how the former's approach differs importantly from those advanced by many of today's philosophers and cognitive scientists. -- downloaded pdf to Note
mind  reductionism  Dennett  Wittgenstein  consciousness  cognition  neuroscience  psychology  downloaded  EF-add 
june 2014 by dunnettreader
Strawson on Consciousness - Waggish 2005
Long quote from TLS with broken link -- For those of us like me who can’t help wondering about the physical reality of subjective mental events, here’s a passage from the ever-excellent Galen Strawson, from a review of Antonio Damasio: The standard formulation of the “mind-body problem” rests on a huge and wholly unjustified assumption (this assumption, in fact, is Descartes’s deepest error). It is not content with the obvious truth that matter and consciousness seem to us to be utterly heterogeneous things. It slides on to the claim that matter and consciousness are in fact utterly heterogeneous things, in such a way that it is mysterious how one could ever be the basis or “realization” of the other. It shifts from a harmless and true epistemological claim about how things seem to us to a mega-therial metaphysical claim about how things are in reality.Why? Why indeed? .... So, if our best picture of matter makes it seem incomprehensible that matter should be the basis of (or simply be) conscious experience, all this shows is the inadequacy of our best picture of matter. Locke, Hume, Priestley, Kant and others were very clear about this, but few understand it today. Many now make Descartes’s deepest error, in fact, with far less justification than him – while condemning him for his errors.
mind-body  consciousness  reductionism  materialism  metaphysics  epistemology  Descartes  Locke  analytical_philosophy  thinking_matter  dualism  qualia  essence  EF-add 
april 2014 by dunnettreader
Robert C. Bishop, review - Peter Ulric Tse, Neural Basis of Free Will: Criterial Causation // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // Jan 2014
Critical re reductionism or eliminativism underneath the Tse "persons choosing" lingo - one where equivocation on key notions such as willing, choosing, planning, valuing, information, assessment, and so forth, mask the replacements of what persons do when they engage in decisions by mechanized response to inputs. The richness of our human experience and practices of free will and action disappear. Equivocating on key terms such as 'assessing', 'deciding' and 'willing' likely would go unnoticed if you are presupposing a strictly instrumental view of action, where all cause-effect chains are modeled on efficient causation, and the main idea is to discern the most efficient or effective means for achieving a pre-set goal. -- On the instrumental view Tse offers, human actions are the effects of efficient causal chains no different in kind from a thermostat triggering the A/C to come on when a preset threshold is met (except that somehow the thermostat has an unidentified power to change the threshold once the threshold has been met). Tse likely does not realize that his being enmeshed in an instrumental view of action leads him to personify neurons and thereby mechanize assessing, deciding and willing, among other activities, at all levels of his account. -- Moreover, Tse likely does not realize how deeply the instrumental view of action is shaped by Western cultural ideals (Bishop 2013). -- In conclusion, Tse tells us that he is going to give us a neuroscientific account of free will and consciousness, but his metaphysics of realization, the personification equivocation and the commitment to an instrumental picture of action amounts to a philosophical account with philosophical assumptions... -- interesting on Causal Closure Principle of physics
books  reviews  philosophy_of_science  mind  neuroscience  free_will  determinism  reductionism  physicalism  EF-add 
march 2014 by dunnettreader
Kevin Mitchell - Wiring the Brain: Reductionism! Determinism! Straw-man-ism! - Feb 2014
Good post and comments -- cmnt 1 - I like your juxtaposition of "the system is complex" and "single variants can influence a complex system". One variant at a time studies aren't inherently reductionist. We all want to know what the effects of any variant are independent of genomic background and ecology. This is an important part of genetic architecture and should not be ignored. From my point of view the problem is with the *assumptions* made when investigating the single variant effect on interindividual variation in a biological trait. One assumption (1) is that the system is complex and the single variant analysis will reveal only a piece of that complexity. Another assumption (2) is that the system is complex but can be teased apart as a sum of independent effects. Yet another assumption (3) is that the system appears complex but is really simple and can be explained by a sum of variants. The human genetics and genetic epidemiology disciplines span all of these assumptions in a non-uniform manner. I am old enough to have been a graduate student and beginning assistant professor during the linkage era that began with assumption 3 coming off the successes of Mendelian genetics and positional cloning. This off course shifted to assumption 2 during the GWAS era. I think we are now in the process of shifting toward assumption 1 as digest the largely negative results of using single variant analyses to predict disease susceptibility. I believe this shift in assumptions will continue over the next year as WGS plays out. Thanks for the post! - Jason Moore (Dartmouth)
scientific_method  genetics  biology  science-public  evolutionary_biology  materialism  reductionism  EF-add 
march 2014 by dunnettreader
Nathan Stemmer - Quine's Eliminativism and the Crystal Spheres | JSTOR: Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie, Vol. 38, No. 2 (November, 2007), pp. 315-327
Quine's eliminativist theory has largely been ignored by the philosophical community. This is highly regrettable because Quine's theory is probably close to correct. Now, the probable correctness of Quine's theory has an important consequence since, according to the theory, there are no mental entities (events, states, phenomena, properties, etc.) nor do such entities play any role in a scientific account of the relevant phenomena. But the hundreds or probably thousands of publications that deal with issues such as mental causation, the nature of qualia, supervenience of the mental, or multiple realizability, presume the existence of, or at least attribute a positive role to, mental entities. The probable correctness of Quine's theory therefore suggests that all these publications are worthless and reading them is a waste of time just as reading studies about how crystal spheres can move planets is considered nowadays a waste of time. -- gets rid of mental entities without complete reductionism -- didn't download
article  jstor  intellectual_history  20thC  ontology  philosophy_of_science  mind-body  mind  reductionism  Quine  EF-add 
february 2014 by dunnettreader
Daniel Little - Understanding Society: What is reduction? Sept 2013
Discusses Wimsatt re models of (good and bad) reduction in biology - paper downloaded to Note -- His article "Reductionism and its heuristics: Making methodological reductionism honest" is particularly useful (link). Wimsatt distinguishes among three varieties of reductionism in the philosophy of science: inter-level reductive explanations, same-level reductive theory succession, and eliminative reduction (448).
social_theory  ontology-social  ontology  philosophy_of_science  causation  reductionism  downloaded  EF-add 
november 2013 by dunnettreader
Daniel Little: Understanding Society: What is reduction? - Sept 2013
William Wimsatt is a philosopher of biology whose writings about reduction have illuminated the topic significantly. His article "Reductionism and its heuristics: Making methodological reductionism honest" is particularly useful (link). Wimsatt distinguishes among three varieties of reductionism in the philosophy of science: inter-level reductive explanations, same-level reductive theory succession, and eliminative reduction (448). He finds that eliminative reduction is a non-starter; virtually no scientists see value in attempting to eliminate references to the higher-level domain in favor of a lower-level domain. Inter-level reduction is essentially what was described above. And theory-succession reduction is a mapping from one theory to the next of the ontologies that they depend upon.

Lee Arnold comment -- I think that part of the problem is that social science is missing the proper fundamental unit. I think it is "relationship, in a context": two actors with two different types of connections at the same time: 1) the immediate transaction to each other, and 2) the lines of responsibility and judgment to their context, a shared understand based on prior agreement or their adoption of a pre-existing social construction ("we will have a market-style transaction" or "we are going to a party"). There are always two things to look at, epistemologically. This appears to be against eliminative reductionism, but a lot of very different structures can be examined in terms of a different scientific fundamental.
social_theory  reductionism  philosophy_of_science 
october 2013 by dunnettreader

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