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Towards a General Theory of Reduction. Part III: Cross-Categorical Reduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 May 2010

C.A. Hooker
University of Newcastle, Australia The University of Western Ontario


Any theory of reduction that goes only so far as carried in Parts I and II ([165], [166]) does only half the job. Prima facie at least, there are cases of would-be reduction which seem torn between two conflicting intuitions. On the one side there is a strong intuition that reduction is involved, and a strongly retentive reduction at that. On the other side it seems that the concepts at one level cross-classify those at the other level, so that there is no way to identify properties at one level with those at the other. There is evidence to suggest that there will be no unique mental state/neural state association that can be set up, because, e.g., many different parts of the nervous system are all capable of taking over ‘control’ of the one mental function. And it is alleged that infinitely many, worse: indefinitely many, different bio-chemo-physical states could correspond to the economic property ‘has a monetary system of economic exchange’; and similarly for the property ‘has just won a game of tennis’. Yet one doesn't want an economic system or a game of tennis to be some ghostly addition to the actual bio-chemo-physical processes and events involved (cf. Rudner [188]). Similarly one hopes that neurophysiology allied with the rest of natural science will render human experience and behaviour explicable.

Copyright © Canadian Philosophical Association 1981

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