Against Reductionism

E. Brian Davies

in Science in the Looking Glass

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780199219186
Published online September 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191711695 | DOI:
 Against Reductionism

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The extraordinary development of physical science over the last two centuries has led to claims that it can explain all aspects of reality. Some scientists have proposed a programme called (scientific) reductionism, describing how this is to be achieved. This chapter argues that the world is too complex and inter-related for an explanation of everything to be possible. (‘possible’ means possible in fact, not possible in principle). Application of the reductionist method to biochemistry and cell physiology, money, information and complexity, and subjective consciousness are discussed.

Keywords: reductionism; biochemistry; money; information complexity; subjective consciousness

Chapter.  8496 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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