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καταλήγουν ότι, η προβληματικής της αναγωγής και της ανάδυσης μοιάζει - επιτέλους - ξεπερασμένη.


The doctrine of reduction is often formulated as the view that an object, event or property ‘is only’ or ‘nothing more than’ the physical parts that constitute it. Through the development of theories though, it has been shown that what reductionists seek, is not anymore a ‘naive’ identity theory, but a thorough theory that takes into account both the scientific knowledge and the conclusions of the epistemological and the philosophical analyses. In this study, reduction is considered as realized, in fact, every time the multiplicity of events is explained, described or conceptualised in terms of a restricted number of principles. Our aim is a general reappraisal of the reductive strategy through the examination of the conceptual orientation course of the term ‘reduction’, as it has been used the last 50 years, with the respect that deserves to a sound philosophical view.

The most widespread interpretation of reduction, in the field of Philosophy of Science was the reduction as a relation between theories. The language, the ontology, and the methodology of upper level scientific theories are often incorporated in those of lower level theories. According to that, reduction has been rendered as an expression of the intimate unity of science. The initial motives of reduction lay on a reaction to vitalism in favour of α view that results in the equalization of the ultimate base of biological and physical explanations. Also, from the 17th century there had already appeared two counterbalancing tendencies of science. One of them corresponds to the multiplication tendency of the scientific branches, while the other to a convergence and unification tendency of them under the same conceptual framework. Those were the reasons that urged Logical Empiricists to speak in 1930 about Unity of Science, and the doctrine of reduction rises within this effort of the Philosophy of Science to conceive this unifying event. In the present essay, reduction rises as an important concept in the study of the relations between scientific theories. What is being attempted is the constitution of a united framework for the conceptualisation of events in analogy to that of the physical science. After a thorough study of the relevant literature it has been shown that the rigid traditional reduction supported by Oppenheim & Putnam and Nagel, has been transformed in a more mild type of connection between phenomena of different levels, in a unique explanatory narrative that can be combined with emergence, without prejudging the ultimate level to the phenomena of which the explanatory burden will be finally reclined. Besides the typical objections, such as those by Feyerabend, Davidson, Fodor e.tc., there have also arisen various kinds of criticism, like that of Darden & Maull, of Kitcher, of Schaffner and also the kind of scientific explanation that is based on the dynamic systems’ theory, all of which conclude, without having established it yet of course, that, finally, the doctrine of reduction seems - at last - to be out of date.

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