Philosophy TV Managing Editors

David Killoren (Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Australian Catholic University)

Jonathan Lang (Wisconsin Institute for Sleep and Consciousness, University of Wisconsin-Madison)


John Dupré and Alex Rosenberg

John Dupré (left) and Alex Rosenberg (right) on physicalist anti-reductionism.

According to physicalism, there is no non-physical stuff. According to reductionism, all facts can be captured by some purely physical description of the world. Nowadays, physicalist anti-reductionism is orthodox among philosophers. In this debate, Dupré defends that orthodoxy, while Rosenberg defends a considerably less popular view: physicalist reductionism.

Related works

by Dupré:
Is Biology Reducible to the Laws of Physics?” (2007)
The Disorder of Things: Metaphysical Foundations of the Disunity of Science (1995)

by Rosenberg:
Darwinian Reductionism (2006)
Defending Information-Free Genocentrism” (2005)

More video:
Alex Rosenberg and David Levine (BhTV)


7 comments to John Dupré and Alex Rosenberg

  • W

    just great, thank you.

  • KW

    Can someone explicate for me what is meant by “only connect” or point me in the direction of a place where I can find such explication?

    • KW

      Sorry, I meant “always connect” not “only connect,” but actually an explication of the difference would be helpful.

  • Thank you for making this video! For someone trying to get a better grip on the notion of reductionism, this was highly instructive. John Dupré and Alex Rosenberg really manage to present the tension in the debate and the many interpretations of the term ‘reductionis’.

  • Arthur

    I found this video extremely interesting and illuminating. Thanks to anyone who made this possible. I would love to hear more.

  • Filip

    oh common why in a pub? you should continue the discussion in another philostv debate.Rosenberg in my opinion failed to press Dupre on the inconsistency of holding on one hand that everything is physical and in the same time holding the belief that you can’t explain everything even when you have a complete description of the physical world…I mean i don’t see how resorting to relations and contexts gets you out of that description or why is it necessary for that ultimate description to not include those sorts of things and explain them causally.