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Without Hierarchy – The Scale Freedom of the Universe - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Without Hierarchy: The Scale Freedom of the Universe

Mariam Thalos


A venerable tradition in the metaphysics of science commends ontological reduction: the practice of analysis of theoretical entities into further and further proper parts, with the understanding that the original entity is nothing but the sum of these. This tradition implicitly subscribes to the principle that all the real action of the universe (or the “causation,” if you will) happens at the smallest scales—at the scale of microphysics. This principle is defended by a vast majority of metaphysicians and philosophers of science, covering a wide swath of the spectrum from reductionists to emer ... More

Keywords: metaphysics, theory of science, nonreductive physicalism, emergentism, unity of science, hierarchy of the sciences, metaphysical levels, scale freedom, fundamentality, causation, dependence, degrees of freedom, complexity, pragmatism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199917648
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199917648.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Mariam Thalos, author
University of Utah