Two Confusions Concerning Multiple Realization

Philosophy of Science 75 (5):537-547 (2008)
Forthcoming in Philosophy of Science. Despite some recent advances, multiple realization remains a largely misunderstood thesis. Consider the dispute between Lawrence Shapiro and Carl Gillett over the application of Shapiro’s recipe for deciding when we have genuine cases of multiple realization. I argue that Gillett follows many philosophers in mistakenly supposing that multiple realization is absolute and transitive. Both of these are problematic. They are tempting only when we extract the question of multiple realization from the explanatory context in which it is invoked. Anchoring multiple realizability in its theoretical context provides grounds for arbitrating disagreements. Doing so, I argue, favors the view advanced by Shapiro.
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DOI 10.1086/594505
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Sungsu Kim (2011). Multiple Realization and Evidence. Philosophical Psychology 24 (6):739 - 749.
Thomas W. Polger (2009). Identity Theories. Philosophy Compass 4 (5):822-834.
Björn Brunnander (2013). Natural Selection and Multiple Realisation: A Closer Look. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (1):73 - 83.

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