Analytic philosophers once pantomimed physics: they tried to
understand the world by breaking it down into the smallest possible
bits. Thinkers from the Darwinian sciences now pose alternatives to
this simplistic reductionism.
In this intellectual tour--essays spanning thirty years--William
Wimsatt argues that scientists seek to atomize phenomena only when
necessary in the search to understand how entities, events, and
processes articulate at different levels. Evolution forms the
natural world not as Laplace's all-seeing demon but as a backwoods
mechanic fixing and re-fashioning machines out of whatever is at
hand. W. V. Quine's lost search for a "desert ontology" leads
instead to Wimsatt's walk through a tropical rain forest.
This book offers a philosophy for error-prone humans trying to
understand messy systems in the real world. Against eliminative
reductionism, Wimsatt pits new perspectives to deal with emerging
natural and social complexities. He argues that our philosophy
should be rooted in heuristics and models that work in practice,
not only in principle. He demonstrates how to do this with an
analysis of the strengths, the limits, and a recalibration of our
reductionistic and analytic methodologies. Our aims are changed and
our philosophy is transfigured in the process.
Harvard University Press
|Country of origin:
William C. Wimsatt
||242 x 163 x 33mm (L x W x T)
||Hardcover - Sewn / Cloth over boards / Unsewn / adhesive bound / With printed dust jacket / Reinforced binding
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