Reductive Identities: An Empirical Fundamentalist Approach

Philosophia Naturalis 48 (1):67-101 (2011)
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I sketch a philosophical program called ‘Empirical Fundamentalism,’ whose signature feature is the extensive use of a distinction between fundamental and derivative reality. Within the framework of Empirical Fundamentalism, derivative reality is treated as an abstraction from fundamental reality. I show how one can understand reduction and supervenience in terms of abstraction, and then I apply the introduced machinery to understand the relation between water and H2O, mental states and brain states, and so on. The conclusion is that such relations can be understood either as metaphysical contingencies or as necessary type-identities.
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