The topic to which this book is devoted is reductionism, and not reduction. The difference in the adoption of these two denominations is not, contrary to what might appear at first sight, just a matter of preference between a more abstract (reductionism) or a more concrete (reduction) terminology for indicating the same sUbject matter. In fact, the difference is that between a philosophical doctrine (or, perhaps, simply a philosophical tenet or claim) and a scientific procedure. Of course, this does not mean that these two fields are separated; they are only distinct, and this already means that they are also likely to be interrelated. However it is useful to consider them separately, if at least to better understand how and why they are interconnected. Just to give a first example of difference, we can remark that a philosophical doctrine is something which makes a claim and, as such, invites controversy and should, in a way, be challenged. A scientific procedure, on the other hand, is something which concretely exists, and as such must be first of all described, interpreted, understood, defined precisely and analyzed critically; this work may well lead to uncovering limitations of this procedure, or of certain ways of conceiving or defining it, but it does not lead to really challenging it.
The Cultural Space of the Arts and the Infelicities of Reductionism
Joseph Margolis, known for his considerable contributions to the philosophy of art and aesthetics, pragmatism, and American philosophy, has focused primarily on the troublesome concepts of culture, history, language, agency, art, interpretation, and the human person or self. For Margolis, the signal problem has always been the same: how can we distinguish between physical nature and human culture? How do these realms relate? The Cultural Space of the Arts and the Infelicities of Reductionism identifies a conceptual tendency that can be drawn from the work of the twentieth century's best-known analytic philosophers of art: Arthur Danto, Richard Wollheim, Kendall Walton, Nelson Goodman, Monroe Beardsley, Noël Carroll, and Jerrold Levinson, among others. This trend threatens to impoverish our grasp and appreciation of the arts by failing to do justice to the culturally informed nature of the arts themselves. Through his analysis, Margolis sets out to retrieve an adequate picture of the essential differences between physical nature and human culture particularly through language, history, meaning, significance, the emergence of the human self or person, and the essential features of human life all to explain how such difference bears on our perception of paintings and literature. Clearly argued and provocatively engaging, Margolis's work reestablishes what is essential to a productive encounter with art.
A detailed examination of Beckett's dramas based on reductionist models in the arts and sciences. Various experimental aspects of composition and production are shown to reflect Beckett's search for a minimal theater of silence and inaction, as well as his epistemological uncertainty.
Author: Professor and Chair in the Department of Psychology J Scott Jordan
Reductionism's approach brings together many of the most interesting questions today in philosophy (consciousness and computers) and in science (issues of complexity and self-organization). It also presents a brief history of how reductionism has developed in Western philosophy and religion, with reference to Indian philosophy on certain issues.
Modern medicine is one of humankind's greatest achievements.Yet today, frequent medical errors and irreproducibility in biomedical research suggest that tremendous challenges beset it. Understanding these challenges and trying to remedy them have driven considerable and thoughtful critical analyses, but the apparent intransigence of these problems suggests a different perspective is needed. Now more than ever, when we see options and opportunities for healthcare expanding while resources are diminishing, it is extremely important that healthcare professionals practice medicine wisely. In Medical Reasoning, neurologist Erwin B. Montgomery, Jr. offers a new and vital perspective. He begins with the idea that the need for certainty in medical decision-making has been the primary driving force in medical reasoning. Doctors must routinely confront countless manifestations of symptoms, diseases, or behaviors in their patients. Therefore, either there are as many different "diseases" as there are patients or some economical set of principles and facts can be combined to explain each patient's disease. The response to this epistemic conundrum has driven medicine throughout history: the challenge is to discover principles and facts and then to develop means to apply them to each unique patient in a manner that provides certainty. This book studies the nature of medical decision making systematically and rigorously in both an analytic and historical context, addressing medicine's unique need for certainty in the face of the enormous variety of diseases and in the manifestations of the same disease in different patients. The book also examines how the social, legal, and economic circumstances in which medical decision-making occurs greatly influence the nature of medical reasoning. Medical Reasoning is essential for those at the intersection of healthcare and philosophy.