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Drawing Lessons from the Previous Debate

  • Marie I. Kaiser
Chapter
Part of the History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences book series (HPTL)

Abstract

Chapter 3 presents the crucial lessons one should learn from the previous debate about reduction(ism) in the philosophy of biology. These lessons are: First, before you discuss whether reductionism or antireductionism is true you should seek to understand what reduction is. Second, if you seek to understand what reduction in actual biological practice is, you should be aware of the fact that epistemic issues rather than ontological issues are the ones that matter most. Third, before you discuss epistemic reduction(ism) you need to specify which kind of epistemic reduction you are talking about, that is, whether the target of your analysis is theory reduction, methodological reduction, or explanatory reduction. Fourth, it is time to move beyond the limitations of Nagel’s classical model of theory reduction and, instead, to seek after a model of epistemic reduction, which is more adequate with respect to biological practice.

Keywords

Reductionism Epistemic reduction Ontological reduction Theory reduction 

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marie I. Kaiser
    • 1
  1. 1.Universität zu KölnKölnGermany

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