Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
EmergenceContemporary Readings in Philosophy and Science$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Mark A. Bedau and Paul Humphreys

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262026215

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262026215.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 28 June 2022

More is Different: Broken Symmetry and the Nature of the Hierarchical Structure of Science

More is Different: Broken Symmetry and the Nature of the Hierarchical Structure of Science

Chapter:
(p.221) 10 More is Different: Broken Symmetry and the Nature of the Hierarchical Structure of Science
Source:
Emergence
Author(s):

P. W. Anderson

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262026215.003.0013

This chapter discusses the reductionist hypothesis, which remains a topic of controversy among philosophers, but which, the other hand, the great majority of scientists accept without question. The hypothesis posits that all animate or inanimate matter of which people have detailed knowledge are controlled by a set of fundamental laws of which people also have detailed knowledge. Many find it acceptable, at first, to assume that if everything obeys the same fundamental laws, then studying those laws is fundamental, and the only scientists who are studying anything fundamental are those who are working on those laws. This is the basic and obvious consequence of reductionism. The main fallacy in this kind of thinking is that it does not, by any means, imply a “constructionist” hypothesis. In fact, the more elementary particle physicists tell us about the nature of the fundamental laws, the less relevant they become to the real problems of society.

Keywords:   reductionist hypothesis, reductionism, fundamental laws, constructionist hypothesis, elementary particle

MIT Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.