Multiplerealizability has been at the heart of debates about whether the mind reduces to the brain, or whether the items of a special science reduce to the items of a physical science. I analyze the two central notions implied by the concept of multiplerealizability: "multiplicity," otherwise known as property variability, and "realizability." Beginning with the latter, I distinguish three broad conceptual traditions. The Mathematical Tradition equates realization with a form of mapping between objects. (...) Generally speaking, x realizes (or is the realization of) y because elements of y map onto elements of x. The Logico-Semantic Tradition translates realization into a kind of intentional or semantic notion. Generally speaking, x realizes (or is the realization of) a term or concept y because x can be interpreted to meet the conditions for satisfying y. The Metaphysical Tradition views realization as a species of determination between objects. Generally speaking, x realizes (or is the realization of) y because x brings about or determines y. I then turn to the subject of property variability and define it in a formal way. I then conclude by discussing some debates over property identity and scientific theory reduction where the resulting notion of multiplerealizability has played a central role, for example, whether the nonreductive consequences of multiplerealizability can be circumvented by scientific theories framed in terms of narrow domain-specific properties, or wide disjunctive properties. (shrink)
In the literature on multiplerealizability and the identity theory, cases of neural plasticity have enjoyed a very limited role. The present article attempts to remedy this small influence by arguing that clinical and experimental evidence of quite extensive neural reorganization offers compelling support for the claim that psychological kinds are multiply realized in neurological kinds, thus undermining the identity theory. In particular, cases are presented where subjects with no measurable psychological deficits also have vast, though gradually received, (...) neurological damage. Common objections and concerns are also discussed and rejected. 1 Introduction2 The GRP, Serial Lesion Effect, and Multiple Realizability2.1 A case study of the serial lesion effect2.2 Evaluating the case study’s evidence for multiple realizability3 The GRP More Generally4 Objections to the GRP as Evidence for Multiple Realizability4.1 Small plastic effects and neurological taxonomies4.2 But do neural regions and locations even matter at all?4.3 But are there not other options besides location?5 Conclusion. (shrink)
Multiply realizable properties are those whose realizers are physically diverse. It is often argued that theories which contain them are ipso facto irreducible. These arguments assume that physical explanations are restricted to the most specific descriptions possible of physical entities. This assumption is descriptively false, and philosophically unmotivated. I argue that it is a holdover from the late positivist axiomatic view of theories. A semantic view of theories, by contrast, correctly allows scientific explanations to be couched in the most perspicuous, (...) powerful language available. On a semantic view, traditional notions of multiplerealizability are thus very hard to motivate. At best, one must abandon either the idea that multiplerealizability is an interesting scientific notion, or else admit that multiply realizable properties do not automatically block scientific reductions. (shrink)
MultipleRealizability (MR) must still be regarded as one of the principal arguments against type reductionist accounts of higher-order properties and their special laws. Against this I argue that there is no unique MR but rather a multitude of MR categories. In a slogan: MR is itself “multi-realized”. If this is true then we cannot expect one unique reductionist strategy against MR as an anti-reductionist argument. The main task is rather to develop a taxonomy of the wide variety (...) of MR cases and to sketch possible reductionist answers for each class of cases. The paper outlines some first steps in this direction. (shrink)
Framed within the dialectic of the causal exclusion argument (Kim 2005), this paper does two things. One, it clarifies some properties of multiplerealizability based on its true origin (Turing 1950). And two, it challenges a form of argument Noordhof (1997), Clarke (1999), and Whittle (2007) employ to support the idea that the mental has causal powers not had by its physical realization base (Novel). The paper challenges Novel with ideas derived from multiplerealizability, among others.
Bechtel and Mundale (1999) argue that multiplerealizability is not plausible. They point out that neuroscientists assume that psychological traits are realized similarly in homologous brain structures and contend that a biological aspect of the brain that is relevant to neuropsychological state individuation provides evidence against multiplerealizability. I argue that Bechtel and Mundale adduce the wrong sort of evidence against multiplerealizability. Homologous traits do not provide relevant evidence. It is homoplasious traits of (...) brains that can provide evidence for or against multiplerealizability. (shrink)
The argument from multiplerealizability is that, because quite diverse physical systems are capable of giving rise to identical psychological phenomena, mental states cannot be reduced to physical states. This influential argument depends upon a theory of reduction that has been defunct in the philosophy of science for at least fifteen years. Better theories are now available.
In this paper it is argued that the multiplerealizability argument and Kripke's argument are based on schemas of identifications rather than identification. In fact, "heat = molecular motion" includes a term "molecular motion" that does not capture a natural kind, nor has a unique referent. Is properly framed, this schema suits also for the type identity theory of mind. Some consequences of this point are evaluated.
The claim of the multiplerealizability of mental states by brain states has been a major feature of the dominant philosophy of mind of the late 20th century. The claim is usually motivated by evidence that mental states are multiply realized, both within humans and between humans and other species. We challenge this contention by focusing on how neuroscientists differentiate brain areas. The fact that they rely centrally on psychological measures in mapping the brain and do so in (...) a comparative fashion undercuts the likelihood that, at least within organic life forms, we are likely to find cases of multiply realized psychological functions. (shrink)
Reductionism is often understood to include two theses: (1) every singular occurrence that the special sciences can explain also can be explained by physics; (2) every law in a higher-level science can be explained by physics. These claims are widely supposed to have been refuted by the multiplerealizability argument, formulated by Putnam (1967, 1975) and Fodor (1968, 1975). The present paper criticizes the argument and identifies a reductionistic thesis that follows from one of the argument's premises.
b>: This article explains the concept of multiplerealizability and its role in the philosophy of mind. In particular, I consider what is required for the multiplerealizability of psychological kinds, the relevance of multiplerealizability to the reducibility and autonomy of psychology, as well as further refinements of the concept that would prove helpful.
The claim of the multiplerealizability of mental states by brain states has been a major feature of the dominant philosophy of mind of the late 20th century. The claim is usually motivated by evidence that mental states are multiply realized, both within humans and between humans and other species. We challenge this contention by focusing on how neuroscientists differentiate brain areas. The fact that they rely centrally on psychological measures in mapping the brain and do so in (...) a comparative fashion undercuts the likelihood that, at least within organic life forms, we are likely to find cases of multiply realized psychological functions. (shrink)
While the concept of multiplerealizability is widely used, it is seldom rigorously characterized. This paper defends a liberal conception of multiplerealizability as sameness of type through _any_ differences in the (lower-level) conditions that give rise to instances of that type. This kind of “sameness through difference” is contrasted with another type of asymmetric dependency relation between properties, multiple _specification_. This liberal conception is then defended from objections, and it is augmented by a concept (...) of relativized multiplerealizability. The last section presents a survey of the ontological, explanatory, and methodological consequences of this analysis of multiplerealizability. (shrink)
The multiple-realizability argument has been the mainstay ofanti-reductionist consensus in philosophy of mind for the past thirty years. Reductionist opposition to it has sometimes taken the form of the Disjunctive Move: If mental types are multiply-realizable, they are not coextensive with physical types; they might nevertheless be coextensive with disjunctionsof physical types, and those disjunctions could still underwrite psychophysical reduction. Among anti-reductionists, confidence is high that the Disjunctive Move fails; arguments to this effect, however, often leave something to (...) be desired. I raise difficulties for one anti-reductionist response to the DisjunctiveMove, the Explanatory Response. (shrink)
This paper concerns what Jerry Fodor calls a 'metaphysical mystery': How can there by macroregularities that are realized by wildly heterogeneous lower level mechanisms? But the answer to this question is not as mysterious as many, including Jaegwon Kim, Ned Block, and Jerry Fodor might think. The multiplerealizability of the properties of the special sciences such as psychology is best understood as a kind of universality, where 'universality' is used in the technical sense one finds in the (...) physics literature. It is argued that the same explanatory strategy used by physicists to provide understanding of universal behavior in physics can be used to explain how special science properties can be heterogeneously multiply realized. (shrink)
I will discuss two possible options how a defender of the type identity-theory with respect to mental properties can avoid the conclusion of Putnam's MultipleRealizability Argument. I begin by offering a rigorous formulation of Putnam's argument, which has been lacking so far in the literature (section 2). This rigorous formulation shows that there are basically two possible options for avoiding the argument's conclusion. Contrary to current mainstream, I reject the first option?Kim's 'local reductionism'?as untenable (section 3). I (...) endorse the second option, which has been brought into discredit by being too closely associated with disjunctive properties. I first show that many of the criticisms of disjunctive properties miss their target or beg the question against their opponent view (sections 4 & 5). Then I argue that it is not necessary to tie the second option closely to disjunctive properties. Hence, even if we deny the legitimacy of disjunctive properties, the identity-theorist still need not accept the conclusion of the MultipleRealizability Argument since there is an alternative, though related, way to spell out the second response (section 6). (shrink)
Shapiro has suggested that the empirical plausibility of the multiplerealizability of human-like minds is dubious, because a contrary thesis, the Mental Constraint Thesis, enjoys positive empirical evidence. The Mental Constraint Thesis states that, given the actual physical laws, there is only one way to realize a human-like mind. I will suggest, however, that the Mental Constraint Thesis is not a contrary to the empirical multiplerealizability thesis relevant to psychological reduction or autonomy and, as a (...) consequence, has no bearing on those classificatory issues. (shrink)
I sketch a theory of cognitive representation from recent "connectionist" cognitive science. I then argue that (i) this theory is reducible to neuroscientific theories, yet (ii) its kinds are multiply realized at a neurobiological level. This argument demonstrates that multiplerealizability alone is no barrier to the reducibility of psychological theories. I conclude that the multiplerealizability argument, the most influential argument against psychophysical reductionism, should be abandoned.
Pluralism about truth is the view that there is more than one way for a proposition to be true. When taken to imply that there is more than one concept and property of truth, this position faces a number of troubling objections. I argue that we can overcome these objections, and yet retain pluralism's key insight, by taking truth to be a multiply realizable property of propositions.
Are qualia natural kinds? In order to give this question slightly more focus, and to show why it might be an interesting question, let me begin by saying a little about what I take qualia to be, and what natural kinds. For the purposes of this paper, I shall be assuming a fairly full-blooded kind of phenomenal realism about qualia: qualia, thus, include the qualitative painfulness of pain (rather than merely the functional specification of pain states), the qualitative redness in (...) the visual field that typically accompanies red discriminations, the taste of lemon (independently of the fact that such states are normally caused by lemons and give rise to puckering of the lips, etc.), and so on. In other words, I am assuming the falsity of functionalism with respect to qualia, though I am not for a moment assuming dualism. (shrink)
Biological theory demands a clear organism concept, but at present biologists cannot agree on one. They know that counting particular units, and not counting others, allows them to generate explanatory and predictive descriptions of evolutionary processes. Yet they lack a unified theory telling them which units to count. In this paper, I offer a novel account of biological individuality, which reconciles conflicting definitions of ‘organism’ by interpreting them as describing alternative realisers of a common functional role, and then defines individual (...) organisms as essentially possessing some mechanisms that play this role. (shrink)
Multiplerealizability has recently attractedrenewed attention, for example Bickle, 1998;Bechtel and Mundale, 1999; Bechtel and McCauley,1999; Heil, 1999; and Sober, 1999. Many of thesewriters revisit the topic of multiplerealizability in order to show that someversion of a mind-brain identity theory isviable. Although there is much of value inthese recent explorations, they do not addressthe underlying intuitions that have vexedphilosophers of mind since Hilary Putnamintroduced the concern (1967). I argue that thestandard way of construing multiplerealizability is a much stronger (...) claim thanthat of Putnam's intuition alone. I distinguishfour interpretations of the multiplerealizability intuition. Some commonformulations of multiplerealizability arealmost certainly true, while others are not atall plausible. I argue that the plausible formsof multiplerealizability do not impugn theprospects for a mind-brain Identity Theory. (shrink)
Jaegwon Kim attempts to pose a dilemma for anyone who would deny mind/body reductionism, namely that one must either advocate the wholesale reduction of psychology to physical science or the sundering of psychology into distinct fields each one of which is reducible to physical science. Supposedly, the denial of mind/body reduction is not an option. My aim is to show that this is not a genuine dilemma, and that antireductionism is an option, if one recognizes that natural-kind individuation is not (...) wholly a matter of metaphysics but is, at least to some degree, a matter of convention as well. The central point is that physical sciences and mental sciences have somewhat different criteria for individuating kinds. (shrink)
Some scientists and philosophers have claimed that there is a converse to multiplerealizability. While a given higher-level property can be realized by different lower-level properties (multiplerealizability), a given lower-level property can in turn serve to realize different higher-level properties (this converse I dubbed the unfortunately obscure "constructival plasticity" to emphasize the constructive metaphysics involved when realizing properties generate realized properties in the stated way). I begin by defining multiple realizabilty in a formal way, (...) then turn to the relation in question. By my analysis, for the converse claim to be true, a lower-level property G1 that realizes a higher-level F must be taken in conjunction with some other base condition G2 so that a difference in G2 allows G1 to determine some other higher-level property E but not F (otherwise there would be violations of supervenience). The realization law thus has the form: (G1 & G2) => F. As such, the base property G1 is insufficient by itself to produce F. It is an insufficient but necessary part of a sufficient condition. I also point out that this makes the realization base property an INUS condition, if combined with multiplerealizability. Specifically, if F is multiply realized by properties other than the pair G1 and G2, then G1 is an insufficient but necessary part of an unnecessary but sufficient condition. (shrink)
This article investigates several consequences of a recent trend in philosophy of mind to shift the relata of realization from mental state–physical state to function‐mechanism. It is shown, by applying both frameworks to the neuroscientific case study of memory consolidation, that, although this shift can be used to avoid the immediate antireductionist consequences of the traditional argument from multiplerealizability, what is gained is a far more modest form of reductionism than recent philosophical accounts have intimated and neuroscientists (...) themselves have claimed. (shrink)
It has been debated what implications multiplerealizability has for reductionism. I claim that more explicit attention needs to be paid to the distinction between multiple realizations of kinds and diverse implementations of laws. In this paper, I distinguish two different theses on the relations between multiple realization and diverse implementation: one thesis states that multiple realizations imply diverse implementations and the other states the converse. I claim that although antireductionism might turn out to be (...) false if the first thesis is accepted, this "realization-based" antireductionism is not the only option for antireductionism. For the antireductionists who accept the second thesis, multiple realizations only provide evidence for diverse implementations. I defend this "implementation-based" antireductionism again Shapiro's dilemma. I argue that one horn of the dilemma does not pose any problem and that the other horn simply begs the question. (shrink)
A critical analysis of recent interventionist responses to the causal exclusion problem is presented. It is argued that the response can indeed offer a solution to the problem, but one that is based on renouncing the multiplerealizability thesis. The account amounts to the rejection of nonreductive physicalism and would thus be unacceptable to many. It is further shown that if the multiplerealizability thesis is brought back in and conjoined with the interventionist notion of causation, (...) inter-level causation is ruled out altogether. (shrink)
In this paper, I want to explore the question of whether or not there are laws in psychology. Jaegwon Kim has argued (Supervenience and mind. MIT press, Cambridge; 1993; Mind in a physical world. MIT press, Cambridge 1998) that there are no laws in psychology that contain reference to multiply realized kinds, because statements about such kinds fail to be projectible. After reviewing Kim’s argument for this claim, I show how his conclusion hinges on a hidden assumption: that a kind (...) can only feature in a projectible statement if it is defined by an internal physical property. This assumption, however, is false: constrained kinds can feature in projectible statements, and yet they are not defined by any set of internal physical properties. I suggest that many mental terms actually refer to constrained kinds, and give an example from motor neuroscience of a constrained kind that is multiply realizable and “projectible”: the intention to move voluntarily in a specific direction. (shrink)
I argue that free will and determinism are compatible, even when we take free will to require the ability to do otherwise and even when we interpret that ability modally, as the possibility of doing otherwise, and not just conditionally or dispositionally. My argument draws on a distinction between physical and agential possibility. Although in a deterministic world only one future sequence of events is physically possible for each state of the world, the more coarsely defined state of an agent (...) and his or her environment can be consistent with more than one such sequence, and thus different actions can be “agentially possible”. The agential perspective is supported by our best theories of human behaviour, and so we should take it at face value when we refer to what an agent can and cannot do. On the picture I defend, free will is not a physical phenomenon, but a higher-level one on a par with other higher-level phenomena such as agency and intentionality. (shrink)
John Searle believes that computational properties are purely formal and that consequently, computational properties are not intrinsic, empirically discoverable, nor causal; and therefore, that an entity’s having certain computational properties could not be sufficient for its having certain mental properties. To make his case, Searle employs an argument that had been used before him by Max Newman, against Russell’s structuralism; one that Russell himself considered fatal to his own position. This paper formulates a not-so-explored version of Searle’s problem with computational (...) cognitive science, and refutes it by suggesting how our understanding of computation is far from implying the structuralism Searle vitally attributes to it. On the way, I formulate and argue for a thesis that strengthens Newman’s case against Russell’s structuralism, and thus raises the apparent risk for computational cognitive science too. (shrink)
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 multiplerealizability in its theoretical context provides grounds for arbitrating disagreements. Doing so, I argue, favors the view advanced by Shapiro. (shrink)
A common view is that the truth of multiple realization—e.g., about psychological states—entails the truth of functionalism. This is supposed to follow because what is multiply realized is eo ipso realized. I argue that view is mistaken by demonstrating how it misrepresents arguments from multiple realization. In particular, it undermines the empirical component of the arguments, and renders the multiplicity of the realization irrelevant. I suggest an alternative reading of multiplerealizability arguments, particularly in philosophy of (...) psychology. And I explain the proper way to understand the relation between realization and multiple realization. (shrink)
Abstract: Two important thought-experiments are associated with the work of Hilary Putnam, one designed to establish multiplerealizability for mental kinds, the other designed to establish essentialism for natural kinds. Comparing the thought-experiments with each other reveals that the scenarios in both are structurally analogous to each other, though his intuitions in both are greatly at variance, intuitions that have been simultaneously well received. The intuition in the former implies a thesis that prioritizes pre-scientific over scientific indicators for (...) identifying mental kinds in certain circumstances, while his intuition in the latter implies a converse thesis, prioritizing scientific over pre-scientific indicators for identifying natural kinds in analogous circumstances. In this paper I question whether we can consistently endorse both of these intuitions. A consideration is presented to attempt to justify the common intuition found in the multiple realization thought-experiment. Then it is argued that this same consideration has application in the structurally analogous Twin-Earth thought-experiment. This recommends a kind of multiple realization thesis for natural kinds, in opposition to a scientific essentialist approach. The various respects in which mental kinds like pain and natural kinds like water are similar to each other, such that similar philosophical treatments are warranted for both, are enumerated. (shrink)
A variety of recent philosophical discussions, particularly on topics relating to complexity, have begun to reemploy the concept of 'emergence'. Although multiple concepts of 'emergence' are available, little effort has been made to systematically distinguish them. In this paper, I provide a taxonomy of higher-order properties that (inter alia) distinguishes three classes of emergent properties: (1) ontologically basic properties of complex entities, such as the mythical vital properties, (2) fully configurational properties, such as mental properties as they are conceived (...) of by functionalists and computationalists, and (3) highly configurational/holistic properties, such as the higher-level patterns characteristic of complex dynamical systems. Or more simply: emergence as ontological liberality, emergence as multiplerealizability, and emergence as interactive complexity. (shrink)
This paper is an overview of recent discussions concerning the mind–body problem that have been taking place at the interface between philosophy and neuroscience. In it I focus on phenomenal consciousness or “qualia”, which I distinguish from various related issues (sections 1-2). I then discuss various influential skeptical arguments that question the possibility of reductive explanations of qualia in physicalist terms: knowledge arguments, conceivability arguments, the argument from multiplerealizability and the explanatory gap argument. None of the arguments (...) is found entirely convincing (section 3). It does not necessarily follow that reductive physicalism is the only option, but it is defensible. However, constant conceptual and methodological reflection is required alongside ongoing research, to keep such a view free from dogmatism and naivety (section 4). (shrink)
The received view of multiple personality disorder (MPD) presupposes a form of realism, according to which the 'secondary personality' is an independent conscious entity joined to the psyche of the host. The received view of MPD is endorsed by the majority of psychologists, as are the major diagnostic criteria for MPD. Realism of this type, gives rise to a certain problem concerning the personal identity of the secondary personality, namely, who this individual is. It is argued that three broad (...) answers to the Question of Who in the context of MPD have been proposed in the history of psychology and psychiatry: psychological realism (Janet and the Dissociationist School); psychological anti-realism (Freud and the Psychoanalytic School), and neural realism (Wigan, Sperry and Gazzaniga). These views are examined. In addition, the relationship of the Question of Who to the traditional problem of personal identity is examined. It is argued that philosophers such as Locke, Reid and Parfit have either overlooked or presupposed the Question of Who. (shrink)
It is argued that propositions cannot be the compositional semantic values of sentences (in context) simply due to issues stemming from the compositional semantics of modal operators (or modal quantifiers). In particular, the fact that the arguments for double indexing generalize to multiple indexing exposes a fundamental tension in the default philosophical conception of semantic theory. This provides further motivation for making a distinction between two sentential semantic contents—what (Dummett 1973) called “ingredient sense” and “assertoric content”.
This paper outlines a multidimensional conception of Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) that differs from the 'orthodox' conception in terms of the content of its commitment to the reality of the self. Unlike the orthodox conception it recognizes that selves are fuzzy entities. By appreciating the possibility that selves are fuzzy entities, it is possible to rebut a form of fictionalism about the self which appeals to clinical data from MPD. Realism about self can be preserved in the face of (...)multiple personalities. (shrink)
This paper explores the relationship between psychology and neurobiology in the context of cognitive science. Are the sciences that constitute cognitive science independent and theoretically autonomous, or is there a necessary interaction between them? I explore Fodor's Multiple Realization Thesis (MRT) which starts with the fact of multiple realization and purports to derive the theoretical autonomy of special sciences (such as psychology) from structural sciences (such as neurobiology). After laying out the MRT, it is shown that, on closer (...) inspection, the argument is either circular or self-undermining--the argument either assumes the very autonomy it seeks to demonstrate or the concluded autonomy is contradicted by the theoretical interdependence invoked by the premises of the argument. Next, I explore a concrete example of multiple realization in the explanation of animal behavior: the convergent evolution of jamming avoidance behaviors in three genera of weakly electric fish. Contrary to the image painted by the MRT, the work on these animals involves a high degree of interaction between the various levels of investigation. The fact that our understanding of electric fish behavior involves functional theories and multiple realization without the kind of disunified science that is supposed to follow from such a situation indicates that the mere fact of multiple realization cannot be the basis for an autonomous psychology. (shrink)
One way that scientifically recognized properties are multiply realized is by “compensatory differences” among realizing properties. If a property G is jointly realized by two properties F1 and F2, then G can be multiply realized by having changes in the property F1 offset changes in the property F2. In some cases, there are scientific laws that articulate how distinct combinations of physical quantities can determine one and the same value of some other physical quantity. One moral to draw is that (...) in such cases we have the multiple realization of a single determinate, “fine grained” property instance that is exactly similar to another instance. As simple as this moral is, it has ramifications for a number of recent discussions of multiple realization in science. Taken collectively, these ramifications indicate that multiple realization by compensatory adjustments merits greater attention in the philosophy of science literature than it has hitherto received. (shrink)
Introduction -- Am I alone in my body? -- Multiple personality -- Personal identity -- Diachronic identity -- What am I fundamentally? -- Empirical discernability and fission -- My body -- The various senses of personal identity -- Multiple personality and individuation -- Morton Prince's seminal case study the dissociation of a personality -- Philosophical theories of multiple personality -- The coexistence thesis -- Sharing my body -- A criterion of individuation -- Multiple personality in therapeutic (...) and biographic discourses -- Multiple personality in literary discourses. (shrink)
For nearly thirty years, there has been a consensus (at least in English-speaking countries) that reductionism is a mistake and that there are autonomous special sciences. This consensus has been based on an argument from multiplerealizability. But Jaegwon Kim has argued persuasively that the multiplerealizability argument is flawed.1 I will sketch the recent history of the debate, arguing that much --but not all--of the anti-reductionist consensus survives Kim's critique. This paper was originally titled "Anti-Reductionism (...) Strikes Back", but in the course of writing the paper, I came to think that the concepts used in the debate would not serve either position very well. (shrink)
I argue that ethical reductionism is better than nonreductionism at fitting moral properties into successful scientific explanations and doesn't face the kind of multiplerealizability that threatens reductionism in philosophy of mind.
It is argued that, because of scientific essentialism, two currently popular arguments against the mind-body identity thesis -- the multiple-realizability argument and the Nagel-Jackson knowledge argument -- are unsatisfactory as they stand and that their problems are incurable. It is then argued that a refutation of the identity thesis in its full generality can be achieved by weaving together two traditional Cartesian arguments -- the modal argument and the certainty argument. This argument establishes, not just the falsity of (...) the identity thesis, but also the metaphysical possibility of disembodiment. (shrink)
This is one of two papers about emergence, reduction and supervenience. It expounds these notions and analyses the general relations between them. The companion paper analyses the situation in physics, especially limiting relations between physical theories. I shall take emergence as behaviour that is novel and robust relative to some comparison class. I shall take reduction as deduction using appropriate auxiliary definitions. And I shall take supervenience as a weakening of reduction, viz. to allow infinitely long definitions. The overall claim (...) of this paper will be that emergence is logically independent both of reduction and of supervenience. In particular, one can have emergence with reduction, as well as without it; and emergence without supervenience, as well as with it. Of the subsidiary claims, the four main ones (each shared with some other authors) are: (i): I defend the traditional Nagelian conception of reduction (Section 3}); (ii): I deny that the multiplerealizability argument causes trouble for reductions, or ``reductionism'' (Section 4); (iii): I stress the collapse of supervenience into deduction via Beth's theorem (Section 5.1); (iv): I adapt some examples already in the literature to show supervenience without emergence and vice versa (Section 5.2). (shrink)
This article defends laws in the social sciences. Arguments against social laws are considered and rejected based on the "open" nature of social theory, the multiplerealizability of social predicates, the macro and/or teleological nature of social laws, and the inadequacies of belief-desire psychology. The more serious problem that social laws are usually qualified ceteris paribus is then considered. How the natural sciences handle ceteris paribus laws is discussed and it is argued that such procedures are possible in (...) the social sciences. The article ends by arguing that at least some social research is roughly as well as confirmed as good work in evolutionary biology and ecology. (shrink)
The properties of Turing’s famous ‘universal machine’ has long sustained functionalist intuitions about the nature of cognition. Here, I show that there is a logical problem with standard functionalist arguments for multiplerealizability. These arguments rely essentially on Turing’s powerful insights regarding computation. In addressing a possible reply to this criticism, I further argue that functionalism is not a useful approach for understanding what it is to have a mind. In particular, I show that the difficulties involved in (...) distinguishing implementation from function make multiplerealizability claims untestable and uninformative. As a result, I conclude that the role of Turing machines in philosophy of mind needs to be reconsidered. (shrink)
Ultimately we will only understand biological agency when we have developed a theory of the organization of biological processes, and science is still a long way from attaining that goal. It may be possible nonetheless to develop a list of necessary conditions for the emergence of minimal biological agency. The authors offer a model of molecular autonomous agents which meets the five minimal physical conditions that are necessary (and, we believe, conjointly sufficient) for applying agential language in biology: autocatalytic reproduction; (...) work cycles; boundaries for reproducing individuals; self-propagating work and constraint construction; and choice and action that have evolved to respond to food or poison. When combined with the arguments from preadaptation and multiplerealizability, the existence of these agents is sufficient to establish ontological emergence as against what one might call Weinbergian reductionism. Minimal biological agents are emphatically not conscious agents, and accepting their existence does not commit one to any robust theory of human agency. Nor is there anything mystical, dualistic, or non-empirical about the emergence of agency in the biosphere. Hence the emergence of molecular autonomous agents, and indeed ontological emergence in general, is not a negation of or limitation on careful biological study but simply one of its implications. (shrink)
Thomas Polger and Laurence Shapiro argue that Carl Gillett's much publicized dimensioned theory of realization is incoherent, being subject to a reductio. Their argument turns on the fact that Gillett's definition of realization makes property instances the exclusive relata of the realization relation, while his belief in multiple realization implies its denial, namely, that properties are the relata of the realization relation on occasions of multiple realization. Others like Sydney Shoemaker have also expressed their view of realization in (...) terms of property instances, yet they too have accepted the multiplerealizability of properties. Thus I am interested in the more general issue raised by Polger and Shapiro's argument. Specifically, I show how to supplement a theory of realization with a category-inclusive auxiliary assumption, which avoids the stated reductio. I then offer a few reasons to justify the proposed category-inclusive view of realization, making some comparisons to supervenience and causation along the way. (shrink)
Despite the fact that the nature of the properties of causation is rarely discussed within the mental causation debate, the implicit assumption is that they are universals as opposed to tropes. However, in recent literature on the problem of mental causation, a new solution has emerged which aims to address the problem by appealing to tropes. It is argued that if the properties of causation are tropes rather than universals, then a psychophysical reductionism can be advanced which does not face (...) the problem of multiplerealizability. However, the 'trope solution' rests upon the assumption that one can combine a trope monism with a type dualism. I argue that such a combination cannot be allowed. Given a plausible interpretation of types within a trope ontology, trope monism in fact entails type monism. Consequently, if one identifies mental tropes with physical tropes, one must also identify mental and physical types and in doing so face a modified version of the multiplerealizability argument. (shrink)
Mind, it is increasingly fashionable to assert, is an intrinsically embodied and environmentally embedded phenomenon. But there is a potential tension between two strands of thought prominent in this recent literature. One of those strands depicts the body as special, and the fine details of a creature’s embodiment as a major constraint on the nature of its mind: a kind of new-wave body-centrism. The other depicts the body as just one element in a kind of equal-partners dance between brain, body (...) and world, with the nature of the mind fixed by the overall balance thus achieved: a kind of extended functionalism (now with an even broader canvas for multiplerealizability than ever before). The present paper displays the tension, scouts the space of possible responses, and ends by attempting to specify what the body actually needs to be, given its complex role in these recent debates. (shrink)
Several philosophers (e.g., Ehring (Nous (Detroit, Mich.) 30:461–480, 1996 ); Funkhouser (Nous (Detroit, Mich.) 40:548–569, 2006 ); Walter (Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37:217–244, 2007 ) have argued that there are metaphysical differences between the determinable-determinate relation and the realization relation between mental and physical properties. Others have challenged this claim (e.g., Wilson (Philosophical Studies, 2009 ). In this paper, I argue that there are indeed such differences and propose a “mechanistic” account of realization that elucidates why these differences hold. This (...) account of realization incorporates two distinct roles that mechanisms play in the realization of mental (and other special science) properties which are implicit, but undeveloped, in the literature—what I call “constitutive” and “integrative” mechanisms. I then use these two notions of mechanism to clarify some debates about the relations between realization, multiplerealizability, and irreducibility. (shrink)
University Abstract Philosophers have sought to improve upon the logical empiricists’ model of scientific reduction. While opportunities for integration between the cognitive and the neural sciences have increased, most philosophers, appealing to the multiplerealizability of mental states and the irreducibility of consciousness, object to psychoneural reduction. New Wave reductionists offer a continuum of comparative goodness of intertheoretic mapping for assessing reductions. Their insistence on a unified view of intertheoretic relations obscures epistemically significant crossscientific relations and engenders dismissive (...) conclusions about psychology. Richer, more sensitive accounts of explanatory pluralism and mechanistic explanation in science advocate multi-level approaches in cross-scientific settings and criticize the distance of the standard philosophical objections from working scientists’ practices and discoveries. The Heuristic Identity Theory, a new, scientifically informed version of the psycho-physical identity theory, incorporates these insights, showing how multiplerealizability is an argument for (not against) identities in science and why, therefore, consciousness is not irreducible. (shrink)
Traditional inflationary approaches that specify the nature of truth are attractive in certain ways; yet, while many of these theories successfully explain why propositions in certain domains of discourse are true, they fail to adequately specify the nature of truth because they run up against counterexamples when attempting to generalize across all domains. One popular consequence is skepticism about the efficaciousness of inﬂationary approaches altogether. Yet, by recognizing that the failure to explain the truth of disparate propositions often stems from (...) inflationary approaches' allegiance to alethic monism, pluralist approaches are able to avoid this explanatory inadequacy and the resulting skepticism, though at the cost of inviting other conceptual difficulties. A novel approach, alethic functionalism, attempts to circumvent the problems faced by pluralist approaches while preserving their main insights. Unfortunately, it too generates additional problems---namely, with its suspect appropriation of the multiplerealizability paradigm and its platitude-based strategy---that need to be dissolved before it can constitute an adequate inflationary approach to the nature of truth. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to defend the causal homogeneity of functional, mental properties against Kim’s attack. It is argued that (a) token identity is sufficient for mental causation, that (b) token identity implies a sort of functional reduction, but that (c) nonetheless functional, mental properties can be causally homogeneous despite being multiply realizable: multiple composition is sufficient for multiplerealizability, but multiple composition does not prevent the realizers from having their pertinent effects in common. (...) Thus, the causal exclusion problem provides no argument for abandoning the position that there are functional, mental properties that are natural kind properties. (shrink)
The emergentist position that R. Keith Sawyer has formulated, nonreductive individualism, contains three propositions. First, that social characteristics must always be realized in individuals; second, that it is nevertheless possible to understand social properties as irreducible; and third, that therefore it is possible to demonstrate how social properties are able to exercise independent causal influences on individuals and their properties. It is demonstrated that Sawyer is not able to meet an objection that Kim has formulated against the analogous position in (...) the philosophy of mind. In his defense of the claim of irreducibility Sawyer refers to Fodor’s argument about multiplerealizability, but this line of argument cannot preserve the claim for downward causation because Fodor’s claim for irreducibility rests on assumptions that are not compatible with a systematic formulation of downward causation. The article proposes a reading of Fodor’s argument that is consistent with individualism but not with nonreductive individualism. (shrink)
The view that special science properties are multiply realizable has been attacked in recent years by Shapiro, Bechtel and Mundale, Polger, and others. Focusing on psychological and neuroscientific properties, I argue that these attacks are unsuccessful. By drawing on interspecies physiological comparisons I show that diverse physical mechanisms can converge on common functional properties at multiple levels. This is illustrated with examples from the psychophysics and neuroscience of early vision. This convergence is compatible with the existence of general constraints (...) on the evolution of cognitive systems, and does not involve any ad hoc typing of coarse-grained higher level properties. The mechanisms that realize these common higher level properties are really distinct by the criteria laid down by critics of multiplerealizability. Finally, I present an account of how such functional properties might constitute special science kinds by playing a central explanatory role in a range of cognitive models. Behavioral science kinds in particular are the functionally defined constituents picked out by our most successful models of the multilevel systems and mechanisms that explain cognitive capacities. (shrink)
Functional reductionism concerning mental properties has recently been advocated by Jaegwon Kim in order to solve the problem of the 'causal exclusion' of the mental. Adopting a reductionist strategy first proposed by David Lewis, he regards psychological properties as being 'higher-order' properties functionally defined over 'lower-order' properties, which are causally efficacious. Though functional reductionism is compatible with the multiplerealizability of psychological properties, it is blocked if psychological properties are subdivided or crosscut by neurophysiological properties. I argue that (...) there is recent evidence from cognitive neuroscience that shows that this is the case for the psychological property of fear. Though this may suggest that some psychological properties should be revised in order to conform to those of neurophysiology, the history of science demonstrates that this is not always the outcome, particularly with properties that play an important role in our folk theories and are central to human concerns. (shrink)
The type-type reductive identity of the mental to the physical was once the dominant position in the mental causation debate. In time this consensus was overturned, largely due to its inability to handle the problem of multiplerealizability. In its place a nonreductive position emerged which often included an adherence to functionalism. Functionalism construes mental properties as functional states of an organism, which in turn have specific physical realizers. This nonreductive form of functionalism, henceforth called role functionalism, has (...) faced a number of criticisms itself. Chief among these is the concern that the realizer of the functional role is causally sufficient, so the role property does not make a contribution of its own. In this paper I argue that there is a way for unreduced functional properties to play a role after all. This is done by conceiving of functional properties as higher level functional properties of a macro system which determine that its realizers will play the roles that they play. (shrink)
models of cognition are essentially incomplete because they fail to capture the temporal properties of mental processing. I present two possible interpretations of the dynamicists' argument from time and show that neither one is successful. The disagreement between dynamicists and symbolic theorists rests not on temporal considerations per se, but on differences over the multiplerealizability of cognitive states and the proper explanatory goals of psychology. The negative arguments of dynamicists against symbolic models fail, and it is doubtful (...) whether pursuing dynamicists' explanatory goals will lead to a robust psychological theory. Introduction Elements of the symbolic theory Elements of dynamical systems theory The argument from time 4.1 First interpretation of the argument from time 4.2 Second interpretation of the argument from time Limits of dynamical systems theory. (shrink)
The nature of the dynamical hypothesis in cognitive science (the DH) is further clarified in responding to various criticisms and objections raised in commentaries. Major topics addressed include the definitions of “dynamical system” and “digital computer;” the DH as Law of Qualitative Structure; the DH as an ontological claim; the multiple-realizability of dynamical models; the level at which the DH is pitched; the nature of dynamics; the role of representations in dynamical cognitive science; the falsifiability of the DH; (...) the extent to which the DH is open; the role of temporal and implementation considerations; and the novelty or importance of the DH. The basic formulation and defense of the DH in the target article survives intact, though some refinements are recommended. (shrink)
It is often thought that the computational paradigm provides a supporting case for the theoretical autonomy of the science of mind. However, I argue that computation is in fact incompatible with this alleged aspect of intentional explanation, and hence the foundational assumptions of orthodox cognitive science are mutually unstable. The most plausible way to relieve these foundational tensions is to relinquish the idea that the psychological level enjoys some special form of theoretical sovereignty. So, in contrast to well known antireductionist (...) views based on multiplerealizability, I argue that the primary goal of a computational approach to the mind should be to facilitate a translation of the psychological to the neurophysiological. (shrink)
The functionalist conception of mental properties, together with their multiplerealizability, is often taken to entail their irreducibility. It might seem that the only way to revise that judgement is to weaken the requirements traditionally imposed on reduction. However, Jaegwon Kim has recently argued that we should, on the contrary, strengthen those requirements, and construe reduction as what I propose to call “logical reduction”, a model of reduction inspired by emergentism. Moreover, Kim claims that what he calls “functional (...) reduction” allows one to reduce (at least some) mental properties by these new standards. I argue against both theses. First, I present a counterexample to the emergentist model of reduction: The model judges irreducible certain properties which are clearly reducible. Second, I contestthat functional reduction as construed by Kim satisfies the emergentist constraints. Functional reduction implies, over and above a functional definition of the reduced property, the indication of its realizers. But the latter information corresponding to the discovery of a (local) bridge law, is empirical and not purely logical. (shrink)
There are two constraints on any functionalist solution to the Mind-Body Problem construed as an answer to the question, “What is the relationship between the mental properties and relations (hereafter, simply the mental properties) and physical properties and relations?” The first constraint is that it must actually address the Mind-Body Problem and not simply redefine the debate in terms of other, more tractable, properties (e.g., the species-specific property of having human-pain). Such moves can be seen to be spurious by the (...) very multiple-realizability intuitions that motivate functionalism in the first place. For, according to those intuitions, it is possible for a being to experience pain, have beliefs, etcetera, and yet not only to be of a different species, but to have an entirely different material constitution from human beings. (shrink)
Highlights of a difficult history -- The preliminary identification of our topic -- Approaches -- Bradley's protest -- James's disjunctive theory -- The source of Bradley's dissatisfaction -- Behaviourism and after -- Heirs of Bradley in the twentieth century -- The underlying metaphysical issue -- Explanatory tactics -- The basic distinction -- Metaphysical categories and taxonomies -- Adverbialism, multiplerealizability, and natural kinds -- Adverbialism and levels of explanation -- Taxonomies and supervenience relations -- Rejecting the process : (...) first view -- Supervenience-failure -- The modal commitments of the process : first view -- The interference argument : a putative problem for adverbialist accounts -- Cognitive unison -- The problem with attitude based adverbialism -- Gilbert Ryle and Alan White -- White's argument against disposition-based adverbialism -- The cognitive unison theory -- Tasks -- Cognitive processes -- Potential service of a task -- Superordinate tasks -- Some features of the theory -- Divided attention -- Degrees of attention and merely partial attention -- The causal life of attention -- Mental causation -- How to respond to mental causation objections -- The causal role of attention -- Attention as an enabling condition -- Counterfactuals -- The causal relevance of attention per se -- Counterfactuals and causally relevant properties -- Objections to counterfactual analysis of causation and of causal relevance -- The extrinsicness of unison -- The privative character of unison and the problem of absence causation -- Causal exclusion -- Consequences for cognitive psychology -- Psychology and metaphysics -- The metaphysical commitments of the process-identifying project -- The diverse explanatory construals of current psychological results -- Reasons for deflation -- Inductively unreliable properties -- Questions without answers -- The positive payoff -- Philosophical work for the theory of attention -- Putting attention to philosophical work -- Attention and reference -- Attention and consciousness -- Prospects for optimism. (shrink)
Multiplerealizability has recently attracted renewed attention, for example Bickle, 1998; Bechtel and Mundale, 1999; Bechtel and McCauley, 1999; Heil, 1999; and Sober, 1999. Many of these writers revisit the topic of multiplerealizability in order to show that some version of a mind-brain identity theory is viable. Although there is much of value in these recent explorations, they do not address the underlying intuitions that have vexed philosophers of mind since Hilary Putnam introduced the concern (...) (1967). I argue that the standard way of construing multiplerealizability is a much stronger claim than that of Putnam's intuition alone. I distinguish four interpretations of the multiplerealizability intuition. Some common formulations of multiplerealizability are almost certainly true, while others are not at all plausible. I argue that the plausible forms of multiplerealizability do not impugn the prospects for a mind-brain Identity Theory. (shrink)
I critically evaluate the influential new wave account of theory reduction in science developed by Paul Churchland and Clifford Hooker. First, I cast doubt on claims that the new wave account enjoys a number of theoretical virtues over its competitors, such as the ability to represent how false theories are reduced by true theories. Second, I argue that the genuinely novel claim that a corrected theory must be specified entirely by terms from the basic reducing theory is in fact too (...) restrictive for scientific practice and should be rejected. Basic theories co-evolve with nonbasic theories in a mutually interactive way, and thus the basic theories incorporate the concepts and concerns of nonbasic theories. Third, I show that once its ontological consequences are duly noted, the reductive part the new wave account collapses into the classical theory developed within the logical empiricist tradition. As such, it still falls prey to standard anti-reductionist argument based upon multiplerealizability and the cross-classification of special science and physical science terms. (shrink)
This paper explores an important type of biological explanation called ‘homology thinking.’ Homology thinking explains the properties of a homologue by citing the history of a homologue. Homology thinking is significant in several ways. First, it offers more detailed explanations of biological phenomena than corresponding analogy explanations. Second, it provides an important explanation of character similarity and difference. Third, homology thinking offers a promising account of multiplerealizability in biology.
This article examines methodological individualism in terms of the theory that invariance under intervention is the signal feature of generalizations that serve as a basis for causal explanation. This theory supports the holist contention that macro-level generalizations can explain, but it also suggests a defense of methodological individualism on the grounds that greater range of invariance under intervention entails deeper explanation. Although this individualist position is not threatened by multiple-realizability, an argument for it based on rational choice theory (...) is called into question by experimental results concerning preference reversals. Key Words: methodological individualism mechanisms explanation invariance preference reversal. (shrink)
The supervenience and multiplerealizability of biological properties have been invoked to support a disunified picture of the biological sciences. I argue that supervenience does not capture the relation between fitness and an organism's physical properties. The actual relation is one of causal dependence and is, therefore, amenable to causal explanation. A case from optimality theory is presented and interpreted as a microreductive explanation of fitness difference. Such microreductions can have considerable scope. Implications are discussed for reductive physicalism (...) in evolutionary biology and for the unity of science. (shrink)
To what degree must the brains and bodies of creatures with minds have to be similar to the brains and bodies of human beings? Since the late 1960’s, most philosophers and cognitive scientists have supposed that there a relatively few constraints on what sorts of brains and bodies can realize minds. It is widely believed that minds are multiply realizable. Of course there were always dissenters, and in recent years their grumbling has grown harder to dismiss. In _The Mind_ _Incarnate_, (...) Lawrence Shapiro provides the first book-length study of the multiplerealizability thesis. Such an examination is long overdue, and Shapiro’s treatment is sure to set the standard for the budding debate. (shrink)
Shapiro tests these hypotheses against two rivals, the mental constraint thesis and the embodied mind thesis. Collecting evidence from a variety of sources (e.g., neuroscience, evolutionary theory, and embodied cognition) he concludes that the multiplerealizability thesis, accepted by most philosophers as a virtual truism, is much less obvious than commonly assumed, and that there is even stronger reason to give up the separability thesis. In contrast to views of mind that tempt us to see the mind as (...) simply being resident in a brain or body, Shapiro argues for a far more encompassing integration of mind, brain, and body than philosophers have supposed. (publisher, edited). (shrink)
Th e type identity theory, according to which types of mental state are identical to types of physical state, fell out of favour for some years but is now being considered with renewed interest. Many philosophers are critically re-examining the arguments which were marshalled against it, fi nding in the type identity theory both resources to strengthen a comprehensive, physicalistic metaphysics, and a useful tool in understanding the relationship between developments in psychology and new results in neuroscience. Th is volume (...) brings together leading philosophers of mind, whose essays challenge in new ways the standard objections to type identity theory, such as the multiplerealizability objection and the modal argument. Other essays show how cognitive science and neuroscience are lending new support to type identity theory, and still others provide, extend and improve traditional arguments concerning the theory’s explanatory power. -/- Introduction Simone Gozzano and Christopher S. Hill; 1. Acquaintance and the mind-body problem Katalin Balog; 2. Identity, reduction, and conserved mechanisms: perspectives from circadian rhythm research William Bechtel; 3. Property identity and reductive explanation Ansgar Beckermann; 4. A brief history of neuroscience's actual influences on mind-brain reductionism John Bickle; 5. Type-identity conditions for phenomenal properties Simone Gozzano; 6. Locating qualia: do they reside in the brain or in the body and the world? Christopher S. Hill; 7. In defense of the identity theory Mark I Frank Jackson; 8. The very idea of token physicalism Jaegwon Kim; 9. About face: philosophical naturalism, the heuristic identity theory, and recent findings about prosopagnosia Robert McCauley; 10. On justifying neurobiologicalism for consciousness Brian McLaughlin; 11. The causal contribution of mental events Alyssa Ney; 12. Return of the zombies? John Perry; 13. Identity, variability, and multiple realization in the special sciences Lawrence Shapiro and Thomas Polger; Bibliography; Index. (shrink)
Stephen Yablo has recently argued for a novel solution to the mental causation problem: the mental is related to the physical as determinables are related to determinates; determinables are not causal rivals with their determinates; so the mental and the physical are not causal rivals. Despite its attractions the suggestion seems hard to accept. In this paper I develop the idea that mental properties and physical properties are not causal rivals. Start with property dualism, supervenience, multiplerealizability, and (...) the claim that no more than one supervenience base for a mental property can be had by a single instance of the mental property. Then a probabilistic account of causation will be unable to certify either mental properties or physical properties as causal factors for effect types. I suggest that this shows that we should not count mental properties as causal rivals with physical properties. (shrink)
Functionalism about mental phenomena must account for their multiplerealizability. According to standard doctrine, this can be achieved by allowing our folk theory's realization formula to be multiply satisfied by distinct physical properties. If at all, uniqueness can then be restored by suitable relativization to populations or worlds. Recent arguments suggest that this is a dead end. Here the attempt is made to devise a novel type of functionalism that accounts for multiplerealizability but rejects the (...) standard doctrine and thus proves immune to those arguments. The distinctive feature of this novel type of functionalism is its use of plural quantification in ramsification, which allows it to retain uniqueness of satisfaction despite multiplerealizability while respecting naturalness requirements on physical properties. (shrink)
Jaegwon Kim has recently argued that the widespread assumption of the multiplerealizability of higher-level kinds -- and in particular, psychological kinds -- conflicts with some fundamental constraints on both materialistic metaphysics and scientific taxonomy. Kim concludes that the multiplerealizability of psychological kinds would leave them "disqualified as proper scientific kinds" (Kim 1992: 18), and that search for a scientific psychology should focus instead on more reductive or type- materialist possibilities. If correct, this would strikingly (...) undermine a widespread assumption in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science. But it's not. (shrink)