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George_Weinberg2 comments on Reductionism - Less Wrong

40 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 16 March 2008 06:26AM

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Comment author: George_Weinberg2 16 March 2008 08:42:33PM 1 point [-]

The essential idea behind reductionism, that if you have reliable rules for how the pieces behave then in principle you can apply them to determine how the whole behaves, has to be true. To say otherwise is to argue that the airplane can be flying while all its constituent pieces are still on the ground.

But if you can't do a calculation in practice, does it matter whether or not it would give you the right answer if you could?