mric wrote:Indeed, you could also argue that the inability of chemistry to describe biological processes with the appropriate natural types of biological explanations combined with the reality of multiple realisability ensure that any epistemic reduction to chemistry is necessarily disjunctive. Though that isn't, in my view, a knockout blow for reductionism, it does point out the false assumption behind the word 'just'.
Multiple realizability doesn't refute reductionism.
Software is multiply realizable on different hardware, but whenever some software is doing something, there is nothing more happening than some hardware doing something. Software is not ontologically separate from hardware, it is not a separate thing
beyond the hardware; it is an abstraction of certain functions the hardware can perform. That different hardware can perform those same functions doesn't change that fact.
Likewise, when something biological is happening, there is nothing more happening than something chemical happening. Biology is not ontologically separate from chemistry, there is no vital force or anything beyond the chemical processes which make up a biological process. But biological processes are abstractions of certain functions of chemical processes; multiple chemical processes can perform the function of a given biological process. That doesn't mean anything more than chemistry is going on whenever biology is going on.
Likewise chemistry to physics a step below, and psychology to biology a step above (that's really just back to software/hardware again).
Physics, on the other hand, does not reduce to math, because there is something ontologically different between a mathematical model and a physical system that fits that model; namely, the physical system exists
, where as the mathematical model only describes something that might
I might accept a reduction of math to philosophy, though philosophy is also dependent in many ways on math (in the form of logic); either way, the two are up on the same level outside the reductionist chain down to physics, as they are second-order disciplines used to determine things about the things discussed in the disciplines in that chain. "Art" in a certain sense (critical aesthetic judgement) is out on that second-level tier as well.
radtea wrote:"Just" in ordinary English is a marker of falsehood or impossibility. "X is just Y" is what you say when you know damned well that "X is Y" is clearly and obviously false... so false it would make you sound like a moron to say it.
It follows from this that any question of the form "Can't you just do XYZ?" has the same answer: "No." [On the rare occasions when I've foregone self-employment for that weird alternative lifestyle known as "having a job" I've had to explain this to my boss so they stop asking me to "just" do stuff and restrict their requests to things that are actually possible.]
No, "just" means "no more than".
"Psychology is no more than biology".
"Biology is no more than chemistry."
"Chemistry is no more than physics."
But physics is not just
math -- that is to say, it is more than
math. Simple negation.