Martin van Hees presents a new approach to the study of law - legal reductionism - which combines elements of legal positivism, new institutionalism and decision theory. From legal positivism Van Hees derives some fundamental insights into the nature of legal systems, but he also revises some of its key tenets. He argues that law can be reduced to facts; moreover, he re-establishes the relation between law and morality by arguing that law and positive morality are inherently related. He subsequently uses decision-theoretic tools to develop and defend his reductionist methodology. The second part of the study applies the resulting approach to an analysis of legal freedom. By showing that legal reductionism allows us to analyse the value of liberal legal systems, Van Hees makes a forceful case for including the study of law in moral and political philosophy. The book is accessible to a wide readership, including legal and moral philosophers, political theorists and social scientists.
Reductionism and Systems Theory in the Life Sciences
The present volume aims at giving a discussion ot the problems ot reductionism in contemporary life sciences. It contains six papers which deals with reduction/reductionism in different fields ot biological research. Also, the holistic perspective, 1. e. the systems view, is discussed in some ot the papers. The message ot this discussion Is that - whereas reductionism is indeed an important strategy - the systems approach is needed. It is argued by some ot the authors that organisms are complex systems and not just heaps of molecules, 50 that the analytical method does not suffice. Recent developments in systems theory offer the possibility to install a more comprehensive view ot living systems what can be seen particularly in the field ot evolutionary biology. It is true that any organismic activity is molecular, this is to say that it is based on molecular mechanisms. But it is also true that the whole organism displays certain patterns ot behavior which are not just molecular. Any organism can be described as a system ot different levels ot organization different levels ot order and complexity - and it is important, theretore, to study all ot the organizational levels and to see their peculiarities. It should be obvious, however, that there is not one problem ot reduction/reductionism, but that there are many problems linked together and that these problems appear at different levels ot biological research and bio philosophical reflections.
Are art and science separated by an unbridgeable divide? Can they find common ground? In this new book, neuroscientist Eric R. Kandel, whose remarkable scientific career and deep interest in art give him a unique perspective, demonstrates how science can inform the way we experience a work of art and seek to understand its meaning. Kandel illustrates how reductionism-the distillation of larger scientific or aesthetic concepts into smaller, more tractable components-has been used by scientists and artists alike to pursue their respective truths. He draws on his Nobel Prize-winning work revealing the neurobiological underpinnings of learning and memory in sea slugs to shed light on the complex workings of the mental processes of higher animals. In Reductionism in Art and Brain Science, Kandel shows how this radically reductionist approach, applied to the most complex puzzle of our time-the brain-has been employed by modern artists who distill their subjective world into color, form, and light. Kandel demonstrates through bottom-up sensory and top-down cognitive functions how science can explore the complexities of human perception and help us to perceive, appreciate, and understand great works of art. At the heart of the book is an elegant elucidation of the contribution of reductionism to the evolution of modern art and its role in a monumental shift in artistic perspective. Reductionism steered the transition from figurative art to the first explorations of abstract art reflected in the works of Turner, Monet, Kandinsky, Schoenberg, and Mondrian. Kandel explains how, in the postwar era, Pollock, de Kooning, Rothko, Louis, Turrell, and Flavin used a reductionist approach to arrive at their abstract expressionism and how Katz, Warhol, Close, and Sandback built upon the advances of the New York School to reimagine figurative and minimal art. Featuring captivating drawings of the brain alongside full-color reproductions of modern art masterpieces, this book draws out the common concerns of science and art and how they illuminate each other.
The purpose of this book is to provide a deeper insight into the modern theories of molecular matter. It incorporates the most important developments which have taken place during the last decades and reflects the modern trend to abstraction. At the present state of the art we have acquired a fairly good knowledge of "how to. compute" small molecules us ing the methods of quantum chemistry. Yet, in spite of many statements to the contrary and many superficial discussions, the theoretical basis of chemistry and biology is not safely in our hands. It is all but impossible to summarize the modern developments of the theory of matter in nontechnical language. But I hope that I can give some feeling for the problems, the intellectual excitements and the wor ries of some theoreticians. I know very well that such an enterprise is a dangerous adventure and that one says that a clever scientist should take care of his reputation by barricading himself behind the safe wall of his speciality. This volume is not meant to be a textbook; in many respects it has complementary goals. For good and bad reasons, most textbooks ignore the historical and philosophical aspects and go ahead on the basis of crude simplifications; many even lie like the devil and do not shrink from naive indoctrination. Some sections of this book can be read as commentaries on our standard texts, they are intended to stir the waters with controversy.
Among the many conceits of modern thought is the idea that philosophy, tainted as it is by subjective evaluation, is a shaky guide for human affairs. People, it is argued, are better off if they base their conduct either on know-how with its pragmatic criterion of truth (i.e., possibility) or on science with its universal criterion of rational necessity. Since Helmholtz, there has been increasing concern in the life sciences about the role of reductionism in the construction of knowledge. Is psychophysics really possible? Are biological phenomena just the deducible results of chemical phenomena? And if life can be reduced to molecular mechanisms only, where do these miraculous molecules come from, and how do they work? On a psychological level, people wonder whether psychological phenomena result simply from genetically hardwired structures in the brain or whether, even if not genetically determined, they can be identified with the biochemical processes of that organ. In sociology, identical questions arise. If physical or chemical reduction is not practicable, should we think in terms of other forms of reduction, say, the reduction of psychological to sociological phenomena or in terms of what Piaget has called the "reduction of the lower to the higher" (e.g., teleology)? All in all, then, reductionism in both naive and sophisticated forms permeates all of human thought and may, at least in certain cases, be necessary to it. If so, what exactly are those cases? The papers collected in this volume are all derived from the 29th Annual Symposium of the Jean Piaget Society. The intent of the volume is to examine the issue of reductionism on the theoretical level in several sciences, including biology, psychology, and sociology. A complementary intent is to examine it from the point of view of the practical effects of reductionistic doctrine on daily life.
Promises and Limits of Reductionism in the Biomedical Sciences
Reductionism as a scientific methodology has been extraordinarily successful in biology. However, recent developments in molecular biology have shown that reductionism is seriously inadequate in dealing with the mind-boggling complexity of integrated biological systems. This title presents an appropriate balance between science and philosophy and covers traditional philosophical treatments of reductionism as well as the benefits and shortcomings of reductionism in particular areas of science. Discussing the issue of reductionism in the practice of medicine it takes into account the holistic and integrative aspects that require the context of the patient in his biological and psychological entirety. The emerging picture is that what first seems like hopeless disagreements turn out to be differences in emphasis. Although genes play an important role in biology, the focus on genetics and genomics has often been misleading. The consensus view leads to pluralism: both reductionst methods and a more integrative approach to biological complexity are required, depending on the questions that are asked. * An even balance of contributions from scientists and philosophers of science - representing a unique interchange between both communities interested in reductionism
With the advent of the Human Genome Project there have been many claims for the genetic origins of complex human behavior including insanity, criminality, and intelligence. But what does it really mean to call something 'genetic'? This is the fundamental question that Sahotra Sarkar's book addresses. The author analyses the nature of reductionism in classical and molecular genetics. He shows that there are two radically different kinds of reductionist explanation: genetic reduction (as found in classical genetics) and physical reduction (found in molecular genetics). This important book clarifies the meaning of the term 'genetic', shows how molecular studies have affected genetics, and provides the philosophical background necessary to understand the debates over the Human Genome Project. It will be of particular interest to professionals and students in the philosophy of science, the history of science, and the social studies of science, medicine, and technology.
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.