, Volume 155, Issue 3, pp 337–343 | Cite as

Emergence and reduction in chemistry: ontological or epistemological concepts?

  • Lee McIntyreEmail author
Original Paper


In this paper I argue that the ontological interpretation of the concepts of reduction and emergence is often misleading in the philosophy of science and should nearly always be eschewed in favor of an epistemological interpretation. As a paradigm case, an example is drawn from the philosophy of chemistry to illustrate the drawbacks of “ontological reduction” and “ontological emergence,” and the virtues of an epistemological interpretation of these concepts.


Philosophy of Chemistry Emergence Reduction Ontology Epistemology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Philosophy and History of ScienceBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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