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Biology Cannot Be Reduced to Chemistry and Physics Essay

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Since the introduction of reductionism, science has greatly changed. Reductionism has captured the attention of many scientists, as well as philosophers of science for the reason that it seeks to accomplish such a large goal. However, we are posed with the question of whether or not reductionism is capable of sufficing enough information for all scientific inquiry. I will argue that biology is not capable of effectively being reduced to physics and or chemistry mainly because it cannot provide the sufficient quantities of information needed, mainly due to issues caused by incommensurability due to varying scientific meanings (which will be discussed with reference to Kuhn and Feyerabend) as well as issues with overall understanding of scientific terminology.
If we were to reduce biology to chemistry and physics, we would lose immense amounts of valuable information because biological processes often possess their own explanatory theories, which would be incompatible with physical or chemical theories. Biological principles differ so greatly from chemical and physical principles that should we attempt to reduce biology, we would likely make such a field dysfunctional. The complexity that we derive from biological laws would simply not be sufficed by chemistry or physics due to . An example of this would be maintenance of homeostasis in species; a species requires stable internal and external conditions for life. Our bodies have regulated and adapted ourselves to maintain homeostasis, as it is a requirement. Examples of homeostasis would be temperature and acidity regulations. However, this explanation is purely biological. Should I attempt to explain such a thing in a chemical matter, problems would arise that would preve...


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...Unity of Science. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, and Co.

Feyerabend, P.K. (1962), “Explanation, reduction and empiricism”, in H. Feigl and G. Maxwell, Scientific explanation, space, and time. Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 3. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 28–97.

Kuhn, T. (1962), The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Putnam, Hilary. (1975). “The Nature of Mental States.” Mind Language and Reality: Philosophical Papers, Vol. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sober, Elliott. (1999). “The multiple realizability argument against reductionism.” Philosophy of Science. 542-564.

Unknown Author. (2013) Can biology really be reduced to chemistry?. (http://ssptmusing.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/can-biology-really-be-reduced-to-chemistry/) . Retrieved April 14th, 2014.



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