Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

Reductionism and Its Heuristics: Making Methodological Reductionism Honest

William C. Wimsatt
Synthese
Vol. 151, No. 3, New Perspectives on Reduction and Emergence in Physics, Biology and Psychology (Aug., 2006), pp. 445-475
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20118820
Page Count: 31
  • Download ($43.95)
  • Cite this Item
Reductionism and Its Heuristics: Making Methodological Reductionism Honest
Preview not available

Abstract

Methodological reductionists practice 'wannabe reductionism'. They claim that one should pursue reductionism, but never propose how. I integrate two strains in prior work to do so. Three kinds of activities are pursued as "reductionist". "Successional reduction" and inter-level mechanistic explanation are legitimate and powerful strategies. Eliminativism is generally ill-conceived. Specific problem-solving heuristics for constructing inter-level mechanistic explanations show why and when they can provide powerful and fruitful tools and insights, but sometimes lead to erroneous results. I show how traditional metaphysical approaches fail to engage how science is done. The methods used do so, and support a pragmatic and non-eliminativist realism.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[445]
    [445]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
446
    446
  • Thumbnail: Page 
447
    447
  • Thumbnail: Page 
448
    448
  • Thumbnail: Page 
449
    449
  • Thumbnail: Page 
450
    450
  • Thumbnail: Page 
451
    451
  • Thumbnail: Page 
452
    452
  • Thumbnail: Page 
453
    453
  • Thumbnail: Page 
454
    454
  • Thumbnail: Page 
455
    455
  • Thumbnail: Page 
456
    456
  • Thumbnail: Page 
457
    457
  • Thumbnail: Page 
458
    458
  • Thumbnail: Page 
459
    459
  • Thumbnail: Page 
460
    460
  • Thumbnail: Page 
461
    461
  • Thumbnail: Page 
462
    462
  • Thumbnail: Page 
463
    463
  • Thumbnail: Page 
464
    464
  • Thumbnail: Page 
465
    465
  • Thumbnail: Page 
466
    466
  • Thumbnail: Page 
467
    467
  • Thumbnail: Page 
468
    468
  • Thumbnail: Page 
469
    469
  • Thumbnail: Page 
470
    470
  • Thumbnail: Page 
471
    471
  • Thumbnail: Page 
472
    472
  • Thumbnail: Page 
473
    473
  • Thumbnail: Page 
474
    474
  • Thumbnail: Page 
475
    475