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Tradition and Discovery: The Polanyi Society Periodical

Volume 40, Issue 1, 2013/2014

Tihamér Margitay
Pages 30-36

Without Reductionism
A Reply to Lowney

My arguments against Polanyi’s notions of a layered ontology and dual control of entities were introduced in Margitay 2010 and defended against criticism in Margitay 2013. However, it has become clear from Lowney’s and earlier comments that my presentations were not sufficiently clear. So I will explicate some points of my argument against dual control. First, I will contrast the metaphysical thesis of The Causal Closure of the Physical with the semi-empirical thesis I hold, The Completeness of Physical Theories. I have argued that Polanyi’s theory of dual control involving downward determination is inconsistent with standard physics because of the completeness of physical theories. I support this claim by what I term the no difference and the completeness counterarguments. Secondly, I shall show these arguments do not involve or entail any sort of reductionism, and they do not question the ontological autonomy, the reality, and the irreducibility of higher level emergent entities and their properties.

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