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Models of Reduction

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Author(s): Otávio Bueno

Journal: Principia : an International Journal of Epistemology
ISSN 1414-4247

Volume: 13;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 269;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: Reduction | models | special sciences | partial structures | partial mappings

ABSTRACT
. In this paper, I examine three models of reduction. The first, and the most restrictive, is the model developed by Ernest Nagel as part of the logical empiricist program. The second, articulated by Jerry Fodor, is significantly broader, but it seems unable to make sense of a salient feature of scientific practice. The third, and the most lenient, model is developed within Newton da Costa and Steven French’s partial structures approach. I argue that the third model preserves the benefits of Fodor’s proposal, and it is still able to accommodate relevant aspects of scientific practice. In particular, it offers a conception of reduction without reductionism, and an account of the relation between reduced and reducing theories via unsharp mappings and partial structures—even in the presence of incomplete information.
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