Why Reduction is Underrated

In: Analysis and Explication in 20th Century Philosophy
Chris Daly University of Manchester

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The key idea behind reduction is a simple and familiar one: it’s that there’s more to things than meets the eye. Surprisingly, this simple idea provides the resources to block a number of notable anti-reductionist arguments: Mackie’s argument from queerness against objective moral values, Kripke’s Humphrey objection and its recent variants, and Jubien’s objection from irrelevance against Lewisian modal realism. What is wrong with each of these arguments is that they suppose that what is to be reduced must not be dissimilar to what it is to be reduced to. This supposition is shown to be misguided and that the success or otherwise of a reduction turns on quite different considerations.

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