Azzouni - Knowledge and Reference in Empirical Science by Jody Azzouni

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By Jody Azzouni

A desirable learn of the boundaries among technological know-how and language, exhibiting that the workings of language have compatibility with the legislation and strategies of technological know-how, and that the language of technology will be taken actually to explain the reality.

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One caveat. The reductionist literature is vast. My aim is, however, narrow: to illustrate how the program-scope gap illuminates issues here; and so I touch on reduction, for the most part, only in so far as it bears on this. Consider, then, the project of reducing (“defining in terms of” and “deducing”) the terminology and laws of one or another special science to physics. It is in each case the scope (not the program) of physics that decides the fate of this project. For to define the vocabulary of a special science in physical terms, one must apply physical law in enough detail to the domain in question to recognize the differences the special terminology marks out and to derive the special laws, if any, that hold in that domain.

One mark of this open-endedness is that definitions of these notions are not available—only paradigmatic examples. It should be no surprise the notions of a special science act this way; the surprise is that this open-endedness, and failure to be definable in physical terms, is present in some of the notions of chemistry where the project of a type-type reduction (of the sort sought for psychological predicates by physicalists, for example) has been successfully carried out for chemical kinds. 6 See Fodor (1979) and Putnam (1975b), for early examples.

107–12, and for mathematical short-cuts used to analyze the Lamb shift, pp. 119– 23), etc. 23 Here are three things an experiment can get us. First, where more than one factor is at For example, in dropping items from leaning towers, one may neglect the impact of air-resistance or approximate it by a crude numerical constant. But when testing the rate at which objects fall in an artificially created vacuum, the undesirable complexity introduced by air-resistance is largely absent, and consequently one can apply (certain) physical laws directly to the situation.

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