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Physical Composition

Healey, Richard A. (2011) Physical Composition. [Preprint]

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Atomistic metaphysics motivated an explanatory strategy which science has pursued with great success since the scientific revolution. By decomposing matter into its atomic and subatomic parts physics gave us powerful explanations and accurate predictions as well as providing a unifying framework for the rest of science. The success of the decompositional strategy has encouraged a widespread conviction that the physical world forms a compositional hierarchy that physics and other sciences are progressively articulating. But this conviction does not stand up to a closer examination of how physics has treated composition, as a variety of case studies will show.

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Item Type: Preprint
Healey, Richard
Additional Information: Forthcoming in Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Keywords: composition, reduction, metaphysics, physicalism, Standard Model, condensed matter
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Condensed Matter
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Depositing User: Richard Andrew Healey
Date Deposited: 23 May 2011 09:23
Last Modified: 23 May 2011 09:23
Item ID: 8621

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