Zahle, Julie. The individualism-holism debate on intertheoretic reduction and the argument from multiple realization.
2003, Philosophy of the Social Sciences 33.1: 77-99.
Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Patricia Rich
Abstract: The argument from multiple realization is currently considered the argument against intertheoretic reduction. Both Little and Kincaid have applied the argument to the individualism-holism debate in support of the antireductionist holist position. The author shows that the tenability of the argument, as applied to the individualism-holism debate, hinges on the descriptive constraints imposed on the individualist position. On a plausible formulation of the individualist position, the argument does not establish that the intertheoretic reduction of social theories is highly unlikely. Nonetheless, the reductive project may run into other potential obstacles. For this reason, it is concluded that the prospect of intertheoretic reduction is uncertain rather than unlikely.
Comment: This reading discusses one of the most important arguments in the methodological individualism / holism debate in the philosophy of social science. It is recommended for a philosophy of social science class.
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