Der 16. Weltkongress für Philosophie

Volume 3, 1983

Sektions-Vorträge II - Résumés des sections II - Section Papers II

Paul A. Bogaard
Pages 107-113

The Rationalization of Structure

The dependence of biology upon chemistry is based largely upon the structural explication of those substances which are typical of this level of complexity. There is, however, at least one serious ambiguity in the understanding to be gained in terms of "structure" which must be made explicit if we are to appreciate how far this "dependence" diverges from the Standard view of "reduction". I distinguish "civil" from "molecular" structures to help see through this ambiguity, draw out its implications by comparison with Polanyi's notion of "irreducible structure" and Simon's notion of "heirarchical structure", and finally argue why practitioners themselves only claim to be providing a "rationalization" of structure.