Philosophical Studies

, Volume 139, Issue 1, pp 91–110 | Cite as

Serious metaphysics and the vindication of reductions

  • J. L. Dowell


What would be sufficient to show of some apparently higher-level property that it is ‘nothing over and above’ some complex configuration of more basic properties? This paper defends a new method for justifying reductions by demonstrating its comparative advantages over two methods recently defended in the literature. Unlike its rivals, what I’ll call “the semantic method” makes a reduction’s truth epistemically transparent without relying on conceptual analyses.


Physicalism Dualism Reduction Conceptual analysis Inference to the best explanation 



Special thanks to Brie Gertler, Frank Jackson, and Brian McLaughlin and to an anonymous referee for Philosophical Studies for very helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. Thanks also to Sean Foran, Thomas Polger, Gideon Rosen, David Sobel, and David Velleman for helpful discussions of the ideas raised here.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyLincolnUSA

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