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Showing posts from September, 2014

Why the Blank Slate Sticks Around: The Confusion Over Levels of Explanation

The best case for consilience, at least as I see it, is the lack of coherent borderlines between levels of explanation. Specifically, if I were to describe why it is that I want water at the moment, I would most likely mention something about my lack of fluid intake over the past two hours. Or, I might defer to a more “ultimate” level explanation and state that, because my circulatory system is dependent on water, a water-seeking-and-imbibing set of processes has evolved which enables me to survive and, ultimately, reproduce. Now, if I were to offer the latter of the two explanations, I would probably be shunned at parties. However, neither of the two explanations is either more or less valid. Likewise, although there is a distinction between the two, the precise ways in which the ultimate level-phenomena are related to the proximate-level phenomena are complicated, and are still part of an ongoing body of research.  
The aforementioned confusion between levels of explanation is what s…