Biology and Philosophy

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 55–73 | Cite as

Can a reductionist be a pluralist?

  • Daniel Steel


Pluralism is often put forth as a counter-position to reductionism. In this essay, I argue that reductionism and pluralism are in fact consistent. I propose that there are several potential goals for reductions and that the proper form of a reduction should be considered in tandem with the goal that it aims to achieve. This insight provides a basis for clarifying what version(s) of reductionism are currently defended, for explicating the notion of a “fundamental” level of explanation, and for showing how one can be both a reductionist and a pluralist.

HIV Molecular Biology Multiple-Realizability Pluralism Reduction Reductionism Unification 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Steel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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