|Reduction, philosophy: reduction is the tracing back of a set of statements to another set of statements by rephrasing and replacing concepts of a subject domain by concepts from another subject domain. There must be conditions for the substitutability of a concept from the first domain by a concept from the second domain. An example of a reduction is the tracing back of mental concepts to physical concepts or to behavior. See also bridge laws, reductionism, translation, identity theory, materialism, physical/psychical, physicalism, eliminationism, functionalism, roles, indeterminacy._____________Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments. |
Reduction/explanation/Chalmers: a reductive explanation of a phenomenon does not imply the reduction of this phenomenon to something else.
Explanation: it does not mean identification with something else, especially not with something on a lower level.
Chalmers I 264
Reduceability: The fact that multiple realizability is possible is regarded by some authors as a counter-argument to a reducibility. But: BrooksVs: (Brooks 1994)(1): explains this as irrelevant. Likewise, Wilson (1985)(2) and Churchland (1986)(3); paradigmatic reducible cases such as e.g. temperature are indeed mutiple possible.
Reduction: reduction should not be equated with a reduction towards a higher-level theory. Sometimes there is no such theory.
Consciousness/explanation/reduction/Chalmers: we need something like a cognitive model, that is, a model of the abstract causal organization, without having to specify the physicochemical substrates.
This is very good for psychological aspects, but not for the phenomenal side.
Explanation gap: an explanation gap exists between the psychological and the phenomenal side of consciousness (Levine 1983).
Reductive explanation: reductive explanation is always possible when the explanatory (for example, the natural phenomenon) supervenes globally logically on the explanatory (e.g., the physical). If supervenience is not global, the question always remains: why is this process accompanied by this phenomenon?
Reduction: reduction does not always eliminate a "mystery" at the resulting level, but perhaps eliminates the assumption that there must be something extra that has precedence.
Consciousness/Chalmers: here logical supervenience fails in the explanation.
Reduction/Consciousness/Chalmers: from the arguments of the inverted spectra, the bat example, the color researcher Mary does not necessarily follow that there is no reductive explanation of the consciousness. (This would be equivalent to the fact that consciousness does not logically supervene on physical facts).
Analysis/Analyzability/Consciousness/Chalmers: One last argument for the irreducibility is that no analysis of consciousness is available from physical facts.
Problem: Arguments that rely on better distinctions or better information in the future must fail. In turn, they do not have what is important: the conscious experience! Even if conscious states can play certain causal roles, they are not defined by their causal roles.
For example, distinguishing ability can also be explained without consciousness.
1. D. H. M. Brooks, How to perform a reduction. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54, 1994: pp. 803-14.
2. M . Wilson, What is the ting called "pain"? The philosophical science behind the contemporary debate. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 66, 1985: pp.227-67.
3. P. S. Churchland, Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Scinece of the Mind-Brain. Cambridge 1986._____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
The Conscious Mind Oxford New York 1996
Constructing the World Oxford 2014