About Rationally Speaking
Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Skeptical Inquirer column: reductionism vs. holism
So, the first one in the series is a brief essay on reductionism vs. holism, which appeared in the September/October 2006 issue of Skeptical Inquirer. The article discusses the contribution to the debate by philosopher Robert Brandon, who – I think – actually has something original to say about this topic, not an easy feat considering that reductionism has been at the center of philosophy of science debates for several decades. You'll need to read the SI piece to get a feeling for what the arguments are, but essentially Brandon proposes a “third way,” which he terms “mechanism” to combine the practical advantages of reductionism (it has been very successful in science) with the metaphysical pluses of holism (it is by far a more sensible view of the complexity of the real world).