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The Concept Of Reduction

Author: Raphael van Riel
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 3319041622
Size: 52.49 MB
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This volume investigates the notion of reduction. Building on the idea that philosophers employ the term ‘reduction’ to reconcile diversity and directionality with unity, without relying on elimination, the book offers a powerful explication of an “ontological”, notion of reduction the extension of which is (primarily) formed by properties, kinds, individuals, or processes. It argues that related notions of reduction, such as theory-reduction and functional reduction, should be defined in terms of this explication. Thereby, the book offers a coherent framework, which sheds light on the history of the various reduction debates in the philosophy of science and in the philosophy of mind, and on related topics such as reduction and unification, the notion of a scientific level, and physicalism. The book takes its point of departure in the examination of a puzzle about reduction. To illustrate, the book takes as an example the reduction of water. If water reduces to H2O, then water is identical to H2O – thus we get unity. Unity does not come at the price of elimination – claiming that water reduces to H2O, we do not thereby claim that there is no water. But what about diversity and directionality? Intuitively, there should be a difference between water and H2O, such that we get diversity. This is required for there to be directionality: in a sense, if water reduces to H2O, then H2O is prior to, or more basic than water. At least, if water reduces to H2O, then H2O does not reduce to water. But how can this be, if water is identical to H2O? The book shows that the application of current models of reduction does not solve this puzzle, and proposes a new coherent definition, according to which unity is tied to identity, diversity is descriptive in nature, and directionality is the directionality of explanation.

Beyond Reduction

Author: Steven Horst
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190295589
Size: 63.77 MB
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Contemporary philosophers of mind tend to assume that the world of nature can be reduced to basic physics. Yet there are features of the mind consciousness, intentionality, normativity that do not seem to be reducible to physics or neuroscience. This explanatory gap between mind and brain has thus been a major cause of concern in recent philosophy of mind. Reductionists hold that, despite all appearances, the mind can be reduced to the brain. Eliminativists hold that it cannot, and that this implies that there is something illegitimate about the mentalistic vocabulary. Dualists hold that the mental is irreducible, and that this implies either a substance or a property dualism. Mysterian non-reductive physicalists hold that the mind is uniquely irreducible, perhaps due to some limitation of our self-understanding. In this book, Steven Horst argues that this whole conversation is based on assumptions left over from an outdated philosophy of science. While reductionism was part of the philosophical orthodoxy fifty years ago, it has been decisively rejected by philosophers of science over the past thirty years, and for good reason. True reductions are in fact exceedingly rare in the sciences, and the conviction that they were there to be found was an artifact of armchair assumptions of 17th century Rationalists and 20th century Logical Empiricists. The explanatory gaps between mind and brain are far from unique. In fact, in the sciences it is gaps all the way down.And if reductions are rare in even the physical sciences, there is little reason to expect them in the case of psychology. Horst argues that this calls for a complete re-thinking of the contemporary problematic in philosophy of mind. Reductionism, dualism, eliminativism and non-reductive materialism are each severely compromised by post-reductionist philosophy of science, and philosophy of mind is in need of a new paradigm. Horst suggests that such a paradigm might be found in Cognitive Pluralism: the view that human cognitive architecture constrains us to understand the world through a plurality of partial, idealized, and pragmatically-constrained models, each employing a particular representational system optimized for its own problem domain. Such an architecture can explain the disunities of knowledge, and is plausible on evolutionary grounds.

The Biological Mind

Author: Justin Garson
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 131767670X
Size: 70.34 MB
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For some, biology explains all there is to know about the mind. Yet many big questions remain: is the mind shaped by genes or the environment? If mental traits are the result of adaptations built up over thousands of years, as evolutionary psychologists claim, how can such claims be tested? If the mind is a machine, as biologists argue, how does it allow for something as complex as human consciousness? The Biological Mind: A Philosophical Introduction explores these questions and more, using the philosophy of biology to introduce and assess the nature of the mind. Drawing on the four key themes of evolutionary biology; molecular biology and genetics; neuroscience; and biomedicine and psychiatry Justin Garson addresses the following key topics: moral psychology, altruism and levels of selection evolutionary psychology and modularity genes, environment and the nature-nurture debate neuroscience, reductionism and the relation between biology and free will function, selection and mental representation psychiatric classification and the maladapted mind. Extensive use of examples and case studies is made throughout the book, and additional features such as chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary make this an indispensable introduction to those teaching philosophy of mind and philosophy of psychology. It will also be an excellent resource for those in related fields such as biology.

Conceptual Change

Author: G.A. Pearce
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9401025487
Size: 48.75 MB
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During Hallowe'en of 1970, the Department of Philosophy of the Univer sity of Western Ontario held its annual fall colloquium at London, On tario. The general topic of the sessions that year was conceptual change. The thirteen papers composing this volume stem more or less directly from those meetings; six of them are printed here virtually as delivered, while the remaining seven were subsequently written by invitation. The programme of the colloquium was to have consisted of major papers delivered by Professors Wilfrid Sellars, Stephan Korner, Paul Ziff and Hilary Putnam, with shorter commentary thereupon by Professors Robert Binkley, Joseph Ullian, Jerry Fodor and Robert Barrett, respec tively. And that is the way it happened, with one important exception: at the eleventh hour, Sellars and Binkley exchanged roles. This gave Binkley the rather unusual and challenging task of providing a suitable Sellarsian answer to a question not of his own asking - for Binkley's paper was written under Sellars' original title. Sellars' own contribution to the vo lume is perhaps more nearly what he would have presented as main speaker than a direct response to Binkley. However, it has seemed best, on balance, to attempt no further stylistic accommodation of the one paper to the other; their mutual philosophical relevance will be evident in any case. The editors would here like to extend special thanks to both Sellars and Binkley for their extraordinary efforts under the circumstances.

An Introduction To Philosophical Methods

Author: Christopher Daly
Publisher: Broadview Press
ISBN: 1460401174
Size: 66.31 MB
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An Introduction to Philosophical Methods is the first book to survey the various methods that philosophers use to support their views. Rigorous yet accessible, the book introduces and illustrates the methodological considerations that are involved in current philosophical debates. Where there is controversy, the book presents the case for each side, but highlights where the key difficulties with them lie. While eminently student-friendly, the book makes an important contribution to the debate regarding the acceptability of the various philosophical methods, and so it will also be of interest to more experienced philosophers.

Alvin Plantinga

Author: H. Tomberlin
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9400952236
Size: 40.68 MB
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The aim of this series is to inform both professional philosophers and a larger readership (of social and natural scientists, methodologists, mathematicians, students, teachers, publishers, etc.) about what is going on, who's who, and who does what in contemporary philosophy and logic. PROFILES is designed to present the research activity and the results of already outstanding personalities and schools and of newly emerging ones in the various fields of philosophy and logic. There are many Festschrift volumes dedicated to various philosophers. There is the celebrated Library of Living Philosophers edited by P. A. Schilpp whose format influenced the present enterprise. Still they can only cover very little of the contemporary philosophical scene. Faced with a tremendous expansion of philosophical information and with an almost frightening division of labor and increasing specialization we need systematic and regular ways of keeping track of what happens in the profession. PROFILES is intended to perform such a function. Each volume is devoted to one or several philosophers whose views and results are presented and discussed. The profiled philosopher(s) will summarize and review his (their) own work in the main fields of significant contribution. This work will be discussed and evaluated by invited contributors. Relevant historical and/or biographical data, an up-to-date bibliography with short abstracts of the most important works and, whenever possible, references to significant reviews and discussions will also be included.