Our New, Ongoing and Empirically Resolvable Debates over Reduction and Emergence

Some philosophers of science have suggested that scientific discussions of “reductionism” and “emergentism” are merely rhetorical funding grabs. But drawing together my work in earlier parts of the book, in the final section, Part IV, I outline how we are in substantive, ongoing and empirically resolvable scientific debates about the …

The Scientific Emergentist and her Striking Metaphysical Mutualism

Part III of the book focuses on reconstructing the scientific emergentism of writers like Anderson, Freeman, Laughlin, Prigogine, and others, and providing a theoretical framework for its claims. I argue that scientific emergentism is a philosophically overlooked, and profoundly important position, that I dub ‘Mutualism’ with a range of novel …

The Scientific Reductionist and her Live Fundamentalist Position

The widespread philosophical view is that reductionism in the sciences is a dead view and perhaps slightly distasteful to boot. As I outlined in an earlier post, the received view assumes that “reductionism” is semantic, or Nagelian, reduction. The goal of such semantic reduction was to show that higher sciences …

Understanding Compositional Explanations in the Sciences

Understanding the nature of “vertical” relations whether in science, nature, mathematics, logic, or anywhere else, is a hot topic in philosophy. What is unfortunate is that, as yet, too little attention is paid to focused issues about what frameworks work best for the “vertical” relations in particular areas. However, it …

Metaphysics of Science vs. Metaphysics for Science: Scientific and Philosophical Frameworks

Part I of the book clears space for later work and supplies a key theoretical platform. To get us started, I briefly sketch the outlines of the scientific views to highlight how they differ from philosophical accounts of reduction /emergence; and to broach a diagnosis of how the dislocation between …

Revisiting Reduction and Emergence in the Sciences

Many thanks to John Schwenkler for allowing me to blog here about my new book Reduction and Emergence in Science and Philosophy. The book is long, so I will seek to unpack the main themes of the book’s four sections in subsequent posts. At the end of this post, I …

Anxiety about the internal

This post ends with a brief discussion about anxiety about the internal. I take that anxiety to arise when we see strong arguments for the idea that theories cannot successfully posit non-reducible mental states that provide distinctive causal explanations. The idea that the causal powers producing our beliefs, actions and …

SpaceTimeMind

You may (or may not) have noticed that Pete Mandik and Richard Brown (me) have started a podcast, called SpaceTimeMind, where we talk about tax law updates for 2014, uh, I mean, er, we talk about space and time and mind! The first episode is up now (and has been …

A New Theory of Free Will

Just a quick note that I recently published an article in The Philosophical Forum , “A New Theory of Free Will“, that may be of interest to readers (a free PDF of the penultimate draft is available here).  Here’s the abstract:  This paper shows that several live philosophical and scientific hypotheses – including …

Fodorian Philosophy of Psychology

The following six theses characterize what I will call Fodorian Philosophy of Psychology (FPP, for short): There are psychological laws Psychological laws are required for psychological explanations Predicates used to express scientific laws pick out genuine properties Genuine properties are properties that ground causal relations Psychological properties are functional properties …

Temporal Compartmentalization, Declarative Memory, and Consciousness

I recently read a very interesting opinion in Nature by Tu & Knight titled “Metabolic cycles as an underlying basis for biological oscillations” (2006).  The main idea of the paper is that many periodic processes in organisms, specifically, the circadian cycle, hibernation cycle, and sleep-wake cycle, can be partially explained in terms …