In Paul Humphreys (ed.), The Oxford Handbook in Philosophy of Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 460-484 (2016)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Reduction and reductionism have been central philosophical topics in analytic philosophy of science for more than six decades. Together they encompass a diversity of issues from metaphysics and epistemology. This article provides an introduction to the topic that illuminates how contemporary epistemological discussions took their shape historically and limns the contours of concrete cases of reduction in specific natural sciences. The unity of science and the impulse to accomplish compositional reduction in accord with a layer-cake vision of the sciences, the seminal contributions of Ernest Nagel on theory reduction and how they strongly conditioned subsequent philosophical discussions, and the detailed issues pertaining to different accounts of reduction that arise in both physical and biological science (e.g., limit-case and part-whole reduction in physics, the difference-making principle in genetics, and mechanisms in molecular biology) are explored. The conclusion argues that the epistemological heterogeneity and patchwork organization of the natural sciences encourages a pluralist stance about reduction.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Upload history
Archival date: 2019-04-22
View other versions
Added to PP index

Total views
140 ( #42,943 of 69,006 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
27 ( #30,602 of 69,006 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.