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This is Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay Click HERE on this line to find essays via Your-Key-Words. {Most frequent wordstarts of each essay will be put here.} ========================================================== %REDUCTIONISM VS APPROPRIATE HELPFUL CATEGORIES 861201 Reductionists seek to deal with all situations in terms of the categories which are appropriate to the smallest pieces of reality about which they know anything, even if they do not know much about the inter- relationships and integrative connections between the smallest and the largest portions of reality about which they know a bit. It is more helpful to seek to identify the categories which are most helpful within each context of human coping. In each approach to reality some categories are more helpful than other categories. The categories and concepts having to do with nuclear physics are of little help in the context of a music concert. The concepts of integral vector calculus are usually of little help in gardening. It is foolish to insist on using concepts and categories which are inappropriate to a context. Each concept which is ultimately relevant in one context is not thereby shown to be ultimately relevant in another context. It is important to keep in mind the range of relevance of each concept, and to avoid regarding it as of great importance outside the range of its relevance. The importance of a concept in a given context is to be assessed by how helpful the concept is in that concept; i.e., does focusing attention upon the concept help one deal effectively within the context. Does the Dirac equation of quantum mechanics help the surgeon at the operating table? Does the method of solving differential equations help the concert violinist during a performance? Academic relevance is not the same as helpful relevance. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================