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By Keith Dixon

ISBN-10: 0080167683

ISBN-13: 9780080167688

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Many physical laws are probabilistic and statistical procedures can be highly sophisticated in statistical mechanics and thermodynamics. It is roughly the case that, variability and probability enter biology at an early stage and at an observable level, whereas they tend to be necessary in physics and chemistry at a later stage and at the level of theoretical explanation. This is far from asserting that these concepts divide the physical from the biological. COMPLEXITY A simple living organism is inestimably more complex than any chemical compound; to characterise it fully, to describe all its properties and processes is an incomparably more daunting task.

The essential question is whether the different content of the branches of science necessarily results in differences in the method by which the knowledge is obtained; content differences need not make several disciplines of science, but epistemological and methodological differences may. One way of claiming the one-ness of science is through theoretical reduction. For example, the thesis of the reducibility of biology to chemistry and physics implies that living organisms are nothing other than very complex physico-chemical systems, but what does this mean?

A boy holds two balloons by the string which joins them; one balloon has a dog painted on it and the other a cat; the two balloons do not hang together but seem to be pushing each other apart. How is this phenomenon to be explained? If we receive the answer that just as dogs dislike cats so the balloons dislike each other and get out of each other's way, we rightly reject it — and for at least two reasons: the answer fails to meet the requirement of explanatory relevance (despite the "just a s .

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Philosophy of Education and the Curriculum by Keith Dixon


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