Repository URL:
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/11381
Author(s):
Rosaler, Joshua
Most Recent Tweet View All Tweets
preprint description
A conventional wisdom about the progress of physics holds that successive theories wholly encompass the domains of their predecessors through a process that is often called “reduction.” While certain influential accounts of inter-theory reduction in physics take reduction to require a single “global” derivation of one theory’s laws from those of another, I show that global re- ductions are not available in all cases where the conventional wisdom requires reduction to hold. However, I argue that a weaker “local” form of reduction, which defines reduction between theories in terms of a more fundamental no- tion of reduction between models of a single fixed system, is available in such cases and moreover suffices to uphold the conventional wisdom. To illustrate the sort of fixed-system, inter-model reduction that grounds inter-theoretic reduction on this picture, I specialize to a particular class of cases in which both models are dynamical systems. I show that reduction in these cases is under- written by a mathematical relationship that follows the broad prescriptions of Nagel/Schaffner reduction, and support this claim with several examples. Moreover, I show that this broadly Nagelian analysis of inter-model reduction encompasses several cases that are sometimes cited as instances of the “physicist’s” limit-based notion of reduction.

This preprint has 0 Wikipedia mention.