Reconstituting Phenomena

In Mäki U., Votsis S., Ruphy S. & Schurz G. (eds.), Recent developments in the philosophy of science. Springer. pp. 169-182 (2015)
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In the face of causal complexity, scientists reconstitute phenomena in order to arrive at a more simplified and partial picture that ignores most of the 'bigger picture.' This paper will distinguish between two modes of reconstituting phenomena: one moving down to a level of greater decomposition (toward organizational parts of the original phenomenon), and one moving up to a level of greater abstraction (toward different differences regarding the phenomenon). The first aim of the paper is to illustrate that phenomena are moving targets, i.e., they are not fixed once and for all, but are adapted, if necessary, on the basis of the preferred perspective adopted for pragmatic reasons. The second aim is to analyze in detail the second mode of reconstituting phenomena. This includes an exposition of the kind of pragmatic-pluralistic picture resulting from the fact that phenomena are reconstituted by a move up to a level of greater abstraction.

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Maria Kronfeldner
Central European University


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