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: 24 June 2022

Issues in the Logic of Reductive Explanations

Issues in the Logic of Reductive Explanations

Chapter:
(p.359) 19 Issues in the Logic of Reductive Explanations
Source:
Emergence
Author(s):

Ernest Nagel

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262026215.003.0023

This chapter explores a recurrent theme in the philosophical reflection on science that has been expressed by both philosophers and scientists: the contrast between the characteristics commonly attributed to things on the basis of everyday encounters with them and the accounts of those things given by scientific theories which formulate a pervasive executive order of nature. This can be seen as early as the time of Democritus, when he declared that while things are customarily described through sensory perception, in truth there are only the atoms and the void. Galileo also implied such a contrast between the primary and secondary qualities of bodies. Sir Arthur Eddington offered a more dramatic presentation by asking which of the two tables at which he was seated was “really there”—the solid, substantial table of familiar experience, or the insubstantial scientific table that is composed of speeding electric charges and is therefore mostly “emptiness.”

Keywords:   philosophical reflection, contrast, Democritus, atoms, void, Galileo, Sir Arthur Eddington

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.