PSA 1974 pp 613-632 | Cite as

Reductionism in Biology: Prospects and Problems

  • Kenneth F. Schaffner
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 32)


Explications of what it means for one science to be reduced to another have been the focus of considerable interest in recent years, and when the reducing science is physics (and chemistry) and the reduced science is biology, additional concerns seem to arise. In this paper I wish to represent a model for theory reduction which has occupied my attention for some years now, and consider its applicability in the area of the biological sciences.1


Molecular Genetic Theory Reduction Reduction Function Logical Empiricist Open Sentence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Carlson, E. A., 1966, The Gene: A Critical History, Saunders, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  2. Causey, R., 1972, J. Phil. 69, 407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Crick, F. H. C, 1958, Symp. Soc. Exp. Biol. 12, 138.Google Scholar
  4. Feigl, H., 1958, in Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, II, (ed. by H. Feigl, M. Scriven, and G. Maxwell), University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.Google Scholar
  5. Feyerabend, P. K., 1962, in Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, III, (ed. by H. Feigl and G. Maxwell), University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.Google Scholar
  6. Feyerabend, P. K., 1965, in Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, II, (ed. by R. S. Cohen and M. W. Wartofsky), Humanities Press, New York.Google Scholar
  7. Hull, D., 1972, Phil. Sci. 39, 491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hull, D., 1973, in Logic, Methodology, and Philosophy of Science, IV: Methodology and Philosophy of Biological Science (ed. by P. Suppes et al.), North Holland, Amsterdam. Hull, D., 1974, Philosophy of Biological Science, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N. J. Hull, D., 1976, ‘Informal Aspects of Theory Reduction’, this symposium, p. 653.Google Scholar
  9. King, R. C., 1965, Genetics, Oxford University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  10. Kuhn, T. S., 1962, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  11. Massey, G., 1973, Ann. Japan Assn. Phil. Sci. 4, 203.Google Scholar
  12. Mills, D. R., Kramer, F. R., and Spiegelman, S., 1973, Science 180, 916.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Muller, H. J., 1932, Proc. Intern. Congr. Genet., Ithaca, N.Y., I, 213.Google Scholar
  14. Nagel, E., 1949, in Science and Civilization (ed. by R. C. Stauffer), University of Wisconsin Press, Madison.Google Scholar
  15. Nagel, E., 1961, The Structure of Science, Harcourt, Brace, and World, New York.Google Scholar
  16. Nickels, T., 1973, J. Phil. 70, 181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Orgel, L. E., 1973, The Origins of Life: Molecules and Natural Selection, Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  18. Polanyi, M., 1968, Science 160, 1308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Quine, W. V. O., 1959, Methods of Logic, Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, New York.Google Scholar
  20. Quine, W. V. O., 1964, J. Phil. 51, 209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ruse, M., 1971a, Dialectica 25, 17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ruse, M., 1971b, Dialectica 25, 39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Schaffner, K., 1967a, Phil. Sci. 34, 137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Schaffner, K., 1967b, Science 157, 644.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Schaffner, K., 1969a, Brit. J. Phil. Sci. 20, 325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Schaffner, K, 1969b, Amer. Sci. 57, 410.Google Scholar
  27. Schaffner, K., 1974a, in R. Cohen and R. J. Seeger (ed.), Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, II, Reidel, Dordrecht, p. 207.Google Scholar
  28. Schaffner, K., 1974b, J. Hist. Biol. 7, 111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Schaffner, K., 1974c, Stud. Hist. Phil. Sci. 4, 349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Shapere, D., 1974, in The Structure of Scientific Theories, (ed. by F. Suppe) University of Illinois Press, Urbana, p. 518.Google Scholar
  31. Sklar, L., 1964, ‘Intertheoretic Reduction in the Natural Sciences’, unpubl. diss., Princeton University.Google Scholar
  32. Wagner, R. P. and Mitchell, H. K., 1955, Genetics and Metabolism, Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  33. Wagner, R. P. and Mitchell, H. K., 1964, Genetics and Metabolism, 2nd ed., Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  34. Watson, J. D., 1970, Molecular Biology of the Gene, 2nd. ed., Benjamin, New York.Google Scholar
  35. Wimsatt, W., 1976, this symposium, p. 671.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth F. Schaffner
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PittsburghUSA

Personalised recommendations