Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-10-2015

Abstract

The principle of mass additivity states that the mass of a composite object is the sum of the masses of its elementary components. Mass additivity is true in Newtonian mechanics but false in special relativity. Physicists have explained why mass additivity is true in Newtonian mechanics by reducing it to Newton’s microphysical laws. This reductive explanation does not fit well with deducibility theories of reductive explanation such as the modern Nagelian theory of reduction, and the a priori entailment theory of reduction that is prominent in the philosophy of mind. Nonetheless, I argue that a reconstruction of the explanation that incorporates distinctively philosophical concepts in fact fits both theories. I discuss the implications of this result for both theories and for the reductive explanation of consciousness.

Comments

This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Synthese, volume 192, issue 5, in 2015 following peer review. The final publication is available at Springer via DOI: 10.1007/s11229-014-0627-7.

Peer Reviewed

1

Copyright

Springer