Reduction in real life

In Jakob Hohwy & Jesper Kallestrup (eds.), Being Reduced: New Essays on Reduction, Explanation, and Causation. Oxford University Press (2008)
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The main message of the paper is that there is a disconnect between what many philosophers of mind think of as the scientific practice of reductive or reductionist explanation, and what the most relevant scientific work is actually like. I will sketch what I see as a better view, drawing on various ideas in recent philosophy of science. I then import these ideas into the philosophy of mind, to see what difference they make.1 At the end of the paper I address a possible objection: the familiar package of ideas I reject in the philosophy of science should not be lightly discarded, because other popular views on fundamental issues depend on positions that I want to reject. I reply that those apparently attractive further ideas are not worth holding onto

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Peter Godfrey-Smith
University of Sydney


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