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Grene on Mechanism and Reductionism: More Than Just a Side Issue

Robert N. Brandon
PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
Vol. 1984, Volume Two: Symposia and Invited Papers (1984), pp. 345-353
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/192513
Page Count: 9
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Grene on Mechanism and Reductionism: More Than Just a Side Issue
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Abstract

In this paper the common association between ontological reductionism and a methodological position called 'Mechanism' is discussed. Three major points are argued for: (1) Mechanism is not to be identified with reductionism in any of its forms; in fact, mechanism leads to a non-reductionist ontology. (2) Biological methodology is thoroughly mechanistic. (3) Mechanism is compatible with at least one form of teleology. Along the way the nature and value of scientific explanations, some recent controversies in biology and why reductionism has proven to be such an attractive position are discussed.

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