Physicalism and the Status of Special Science Laws

Vladimír Havlík


Physicalism as a metaphysical or ontological concept has maintained a dominant position since the second half of the last century to the present day. The claim that everything is physically constituted often accompanies microphysical reductionism, which assumes the existence of fundamental laws to which everything is reducible. In this context, a question regarding the status and possible autonomy of the laws of special sciences arises. The article focuses on the basic philosophical discussions between the strong, weak, and non-reductive physicalism that treat the laws of special sciences in different ways, but none of which can be considered sufficiently convincing and successful. The article seeks to prove the existence of a universal mechanism that leads to the emergence of new and complex entities and regulations of their behaviour, thus justifying the autonomous status of special sciences and laws.


physicalism; reductionism; emergence; autonomy

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TEORIE VĚDY / THEORY OF SCIENCE – journal for interdisciplinary studies of science is published twice a year by the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Centre for Science, Technology, and Society Studies). ISSN 1210-0250 (Print) ISSN 1804-6347 (Online) MK ČR E 18677 web: /// email: