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Keywords:

  • reduction;
  • reductionism;
  • physics;
  • mental states;
  • causal closure;
  • subsumption

Abstract: Scholars are divided as to whether reduction should be a central strategy for understanding the world. While reductive analysis is the standard mode of explanation in many areas of science and everyday life, many scholars consider reductionism a sign of “intellectual naïveté and backwardness.” This article makes three points about the proper status of antireductionism: First, reduction is, in fact, a centrally important epistemic strategy. Second, reduction to physics is always possible for all causal properties. Third, there are, nevertheless, reasons why we want science to discover properties and explanations other than reductive physical ones.