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Laughlin, R.B. (2005) A Different Universe: Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Down. Basic, New York, 201.

has been cited by the following article:

  • TITLE: Holism and Reductionism: How to Get the Balance Right

    AUTHORS: Alfred Abächerli

    KEYWORDS: Holism, Reductionism, Downward Causation, Wholeness, Incommensurability, Explicitness, Infinity

    JOURNAL NAME: Open Access Library Journal, Vol.3 No.5, May 13, 2016

    ABSTRACT: This is an extensive study of the conditions that allow or impede reductionism. After an overview of the different anti-reductionist conditions in approaches like holism, downward causation, emergence, supervenience, and several forms of uncertainty and sensitive dependence, a more detailed analysis of downward causation and holism is presented. For the latter, strong and numerous arguments could be identified why the whole is more than the sum of its parts. However, the examination of the case of official big bang theory, specifically a finite universe based on ultimate particles, allows the formulation of a potential reductionist theory in principle. The key notions for the further argumentation are different forms of infinity: the infinitely small, the infinitely big and the infinity of points in a continuous space-time, even if this is finite in its extension. Several cases are presented in which systems are at the same time holistic and reductionist if conditions of infinity are applied. This is identified as a natural ontological property of such systems as soon as infinity intervenes. The final conclusion, however, is that the certainties of reductionism are methodologically only useful on very small objects. In the macroscopic world the only way to influence things is by controlling or directing the processes by downward causation, which is based on the elimination or management of uncertainties at higher non-microscopic levels.