Chapter

Reduction and Reductive Explanation: Is One Possible Without the Other?

Jaegwon Kim

in Essays in the Metaphysics of Mind

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199585878
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595349 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199585878.003.0011
Reduction and Reductive Explanation: Is One Possible Without the Other?

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“Reduction and Reductive Explanation: Is One Possible Without the Other?” discusses the assumption often made by philosophers to the effect that reductive explanation must be distinguished from reduction, and that even where reduction fails, reductive explanation is often possible and in fact successful. The paper explores the relationship between reduction and reductive explanation with regard to three models of reduction, bridge‐law reduction, identity reduction which strengthens bridge laws into identities, and functional reduction based on functional analyses of properties to be reduced. It is argued that bridge‐law reduction delivers neither genuine reduction nor reductive explanation, that identity reduction gives us reduction but not reductive explanation, and that functional reduction yields reductive explanation and, arguably, reduction as well.

Keywords: reduction; reductive explanation; bridge‐law reduction; identity reduction; functional reduction; explanatory gap

Chapter.  11374 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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