Structuralist Contributions – and Limitations? – to the Study of Scientific Reduction

John Bickle


Structuralism provides useful resources for advancing our understanding of the intertheoretic reduction relation and its place in the history of science. This paper begins by surveying these resources and assessing their metascientific significance. Nevertheless, important challenges remain. I close by arguing that the reductionism implicit in current scientific practice in a paradigmatic reductionistic scientific field –“molecular and cellular cognition”– is better understood on an “intervene and track” model rather than as any kind of intertheoretic relation. I illustrate my alternative model by describing briefly a recent reductionistic result from the field. It appears doubtful that any structuralist resources will illuminate this newly-recognized type of reduction-in-actual-scientific-practice.

Palabras clave

structuralism, reduction, practice, cognition

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