Pragmatic Holism - Bruce Edmonds
Here I will argue that the concentration on such dogmatic positions centred around largely abstract arguments is unproductive and fairly irrelevant to practical enquiry. In this way I hope to play a small part in refocussing the debate in more productive directions.
I will start by reviewing some of the features of the debate, the versions of reductionism (Section 2.1), some weaknesses in the two sides which make it unlikely that there will be a resolution to the abstract debate (Section 2.2 and Section 2.3) and some irrelevances to it (Section 2.4). I briefly look at some of the general practical limitations to modelling (Section 3) before introducing an illuminating analogy between ordinals and complexity (Section 4). I will argue that the usual definition of computability is too strong (Section 5). Throughout all of the above we see the abstract questions of reducibility coming back down to pragmatic questions which leads me to reject the extreme positions for a more pragmatic approach (Section 6) which will hopefully open up more important and productive questions asked in the conclusion (Section 7).
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