This paper discusses in broad terms the metaphysical projects of Sydney Shoemaker’s PhysicalRealization . Specifically, I examine the effectiveness of Shoemaker’s novel “subset” account of realization for defusing the problem of mental causation, and compare the “subset” account with the standard “second-order” account. Finally, I discuss the physicalist status of the metaphysical worldview presented in Shoemaker’s important new contribution to philosophy of mind and metaphysics.
This paper interprets and criticizes some of the views presented in Sydney Shoemaker’s book, PhysicalRealization (Oxford University Press, 2007), on the topic of how mental properties are realized by physical properties, given that, on his view, human persons are not even token-identical with human bodies.
In this paper I develop a theory of the physicalrealization of higher-level properties. I argue that physicalrealization is in an important sense indirect, and that at each level causal relations are crucial to realizing next-level phenomena. My account makes it intelligible how higher-level properties can be realized by wide stretches of physical reality without the inter-level dependence becoming weak, or global; it also explains how both physicalism and non-reductivism can be true.
How can mental properties bring about physical effects, as they seem to do, given that the physical realizers of the mental goings-on are already sufficient to cause these effects? This question gives rise to the problem of mental causation (MC) and its associated threats of causal overdetermination, mental causal exclusion, and mental causal irrelevance. Some (e.g., Cynthia and Graham Macdonald, and Stephen Yablo) have suggested that understanding mental-physicalrealization in terms of the determinable/determinate relation (henceforth, 'determination') (...) provides the key to solving the problem of MC: if mental properties are determinables of their physical realizers, then (since determinables and determinates are distinct, yet don't causally compete) all three threats may be avoided. Not everyone agrees that determination can do this good work, however. Some (e.g., Douglas Ehring, Eric Funkhauser, and Sven Walter) object that mental-physicalrealization can't be determination, since such realization lacks one or other characteristic feature of determination. I argue that on a proper understanding of the features of determination key to solving the problem of MC, these arguments can be resisted. (shrink)
According to a prominent line of thought, we can be physicalists, but not reductive physicalists, by holding that mental and other ‘higher-level’ or ‘nonbasic’ properties — properties that are not obviously physical properties — are all physically realized. Spelling this out requires an account of realization, an account of what it is for one property to realize another. And while several accounts of realization have been advanced in recent years,1 my interest here is in the ‘subset view,’ (...) which has often been invoked explicitly in defense of nonreductive physicalist positions.2 The subset view holds that property realization consists in the powers of one property having as a subset the powers of another; .. (shrink)
This paper is about the relation between two metaphysical topics: the nature of properties, and way the instantiation of a property is sometimes “realized in” something more fundamental. It is partly an attempt to develop further, but also to correct, my earlier treatments of these topics. In my published work on realization, including my book PhysicalRealization, I was at pains to insist that acceptance of my view about this does not commit one to the causal theory (...) of properties I have defended in several places. I held that it commits one to the claim that within any given world, properties with the same causal profile are identical, but not to the requirement that a property must have the same causal profile in any world in which it can be instantiated. I now think that this was a mistake. There is an argument from the account of realization I have offered to the conclusion that, if physicalism is true, properties of macroscopic objects have their causal profiles essentially. In what follows I will present that argument.Along the way I will correct what now seem to me mistakes in my earlier presentationsof the account of realization. And I will conclude with an additional argument for the causal theory of properties, one that does not tie it to the assumption that physicalism is true or to my account of realization. (shrink)
I argue that an adequate account of non-reductive realization must guarantee satisfaction of a certain condition on the token causal powers associated with (instances of) realized and realizing entities---namely, what I call the 'Subset Condition on Causal Powers' (first introduced in Wilson 1999). In terms of states, the condition requires that the token powers had by a realized state on a given occasion be a proper subset of the token powers had by the state that realizes it on that (...) occasion. Accounts of non-reductive realization conforming to this condition are implementing what I call 'the powers-based subset strategy'. I focus on the crucial case involving mental and brain states; the results may be generalized, as appropriate. I ﬁrst situate and motivate the strategy by attention to the problem of mental causation; I make the case, in schematic terms, that implementation of the strategy makes room (contra Kim 1989, 1993, 1998, and elsewhere) for mental states to be ontologically and causally autonomous from their realizing physical states, without inducing problematic causal overdetermination, and compatible with both Physicalism and Non-reduction; and I show that several contemporary accounts of non-reductive realization (in terms of functional realization, parthood, and the determinable/determinate relation) are plausibly seen as implementing the strategy. As I also show, implementation of the powers-based strategy does not require endorsement of any particular accounts of either properties or causation---indeed, a categoricalist contingentist Humean can implement the strategy. The schematic location of the strategy in the space of available responses to the problem of mental (more generally, higher-level) causation, as well as the fact that the schema may be metaphysically instantiated, strongly suggests that the strategy is, appropriately generalized and instantiated, sufficient and moreover necessary for non-reductive realization. I go on to defend the sufficiency and necessity claims against a variety of objections, considering, along the way, how the powers-based subset strategy fares against competing accounts of purportedly non-reductive realization in terms of supervenience, token identity, and constitution. (shrink)
Twenty years ago, Richard Boyd suggested that physicalism could be formulated by appeal to a notion of realization, with no appeal to the identity of the non-physical with the physical. In (Melnyk 2003), I developed this suggestion at length, on the basis of one particular account of realization. I now ask what happens if you try to formulate physicalism on the basis of other accounts of realization, accounts due to LePore and Loewer and to Shoemaker. (...) Having explored two new formulations of physicalism, I conclude that my 2003 formulation remains the most promising. (shrink)
Let thin properties be properties shared by coincident entities, e.g., a person and her body, and thick properties ones that are not shared. Thick properties entail sortal properties, e.g., being a person, and the associated persistence conditions. On the first account of realization defined here, the realized property and its realizers will belong to the same individual. This restricts the physical realizers of mental properties, which are thick, to thick physical properties. We also need a sense in (...) which mental properties can be realized in thin physical properties shared by a person and her body. Defining this in turn requires defining a sense in which the instantiations of sortal properties and of thick properties are realized in micro-structural states of affairs. A fourth notion of realization is needed to allow for the possibility of coincident entities that share a sortal property, e.g., coincident persons. (shrink)
After briefly discussing the relevance of the notions computation and implementation for cognitive science, I summarize some of the problems that have been found in their most common interpretations. In particular, I argue that standard notions of computation together with a state-to-state correspondence view of implementation cannot overcome difficulties posed by Putnam's Realization Theorem and that, therefore, a different approach to implementation is required. The notion realization of a function, developed out of physical theories, is then introduced (...) as a replacement for the notional pair computation-implementation. After gradual refinement, taking practical constraints into account, this notion gives rise to the notion digital system which singles out physical systems that could be actually used, and possibly even built. (shrink)
The paper criticizes standard functionalist arguments for multiple realization. It focuses on arguments in which psychological states are conceived as computational, which is precisely where the multiple realization doctrine has seemed the strongest. It is argued that a type-type identity thesis between computational states and physical states is no less plausible than a multiple realization thesis. The paper also presents, more tentatively, positive arguments for a picture of local reduction.
So far no clear explication of the notion of realization has been offered, in spite of the frequent uses of the notion in the literature to discharge important jobs, such as that of accounting for the causal efficacy of the mental in a physical world, and that of providing a viable characterization of physicalism, and/or psychophysical reduction. I put forward an account of realization as an identity-like relation. I argue that such account has the following advantages: (a) (...) it provides a picture under which it makes sense to use the same term, i.e. 'realization', to pick out relations that differ in their relata, as it happened in the original uses of the term 'realization'; (b) it helps to understand how well, if at all, some appeals to realization in the literature can discharge the jobs mentioned; (c) more generally, it makes clear what realization can do. \\\ Hasta el momento no se ha expuesto detalladamente ninguna explicación clara de la nocion de realización, a pesar de que se usa con frecuencia en los textos filósoficos para desempeñar funciones importantes, como explicar la eflcacia causal de lo mental en un mundo fisico, y proporcionar una caracterización viable del fisicalismo, y/o de la reducción psicofisica. Presento una explicación de la realización como una relatión del tipo de la identidad. Sostengo que tal explicación tiene las siguientes ventajas: (a) ofrece una caracterización dentro de cuyo marco resulta razonable usar el mismo termino, i.e., "realización", para distinguir relaciones que difieren en sus relata, como sucedió cuando se usó originalmente el termino "realizacion"; (b) ayuda a comprender hasta que punto la realizacion que se invoca en algunos textos filosoficos puede desempeñar correctamente las tareas mencionadas; (c) mas en general, aclara qué puede hacer la realización. (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)
Realization can be roughly understood as a kind of role-playing, a relationship between a property that plays a role and a property characterized by that role. This rough sketch previously received only moderate elaboration; recently, however, several substantive theories of realization have been proposed. But are there any general constraints on a theory of realization? What is a theory of realization supposed to accomplish? I first argue that a view of realization is viable, in part, (...) to the extent that physicalrealization under that view explains or accounts for why instances of realized properties are necessitated by how things are physically in a modally strong sense. In this sense, I claim that physicalrealization should explain physical supervenience. I then call into question two alternative desiderata and raise a challenge for attempts to explicate realization in terms of isomorphism or analogy. Finally, I explain how a causal-functional account of realization, as well as less demanding accounts, can meet the preferred desideratum. (shrink)
α-recursion lifts classical recursion theory from the first transfinite ordinal ω to an arbitrary admissible ordinal α . Idealized computational models for α-recursion analogous to Turing machine models for classical recursion have been proposed and studied  and  and are applicable in computational approaches to the foundations of logic and mathematics . They also provide a natural setting for modeling extensions of the algorithmic logic described in  and . On such models, an α-Turing machine can complete a θ-step (...) computation for any ordinal θ < α. Here we consider constraints on the physicalrealization of α-Turing machines that arise from the structure of physical spacetime. In particular, we show that an α-Turing machine is realizable in a spacetime constructed from R only if α is countable. While there are spacetimes where uncountable computations are possible and while they may even be empirically distinguishable from a standard spacetime, there is good reason to suppose that such nonstandard spacetimes are nonphysical. We conclude with a suggestion for a revision of Church’s thesis appropriate as an upper bound for physical computation. (shrink)
Sydney Shoemaker has proposed a new definition of `realization’ and used it to try to explain how mental events can be causes within the framework of a non-reductive physicalism. I argue that it is not actually his notion of realization that is doing the work in his account of mental causation, but rather the assumption that certain physical properties entail mental properties that do not entail them. I also point out how his account relies on certain other (...) controversial assumptions, including analytical filler-functionalism for mental properties, and the assumption that causes must be proportional to their effects. I conclude by pointing out that Shoemaker has provided no explanation of why, on his view, certain physical properties entail mental properties. (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, multiple realizability, and irreducibility. (shrink)
Sydney Shoemaker has attempted to save mental causation by a new account of realization. As Brian McLaughlin argues convincingly, the account has to face two major problems. First, realization does not guarantee entailment. So even if mental properties are realized by physical properties, they need not be entailed by them. This is the first, rather general metaphysical problem. A second problem, which relates more directly to mental causation is that Shoemaker must appeal to some kind of proportionality (...) as a constraint on causation in order to avoid redundant mental causation. I argue that, in addition, a “piling problem” arises, since causal powers seem to be bestowed twice. Then, I try to sketch an alternative view of the relation between causal powers and properties—a reductionist view—which fares better on some accounts. But it may have to face another and, perhaps, serious problem, the “problem of the natural unity of properties”. Finally, I will pose a question about the relation between causal powers and causation. (shrink)
The realization relation that allegedly holds between mental and physical properties plays a crucial role for so-called non-reductive physicalism because it is supposed to secure both the ontological autonomy of mental properties and, despite their irreducibility, their ability to make a causal difference to the course of the causally closed physical world. For a long time however, the nature of realization has largely been ignored in the philosophy of mind until a couple of years ago authors (...) like Carl Gillett, Derk Pereboom, or Sydney Shoemaker proposed accounts according to which realization is understood against the background of the so-called ‘causal theory of properties’. At least partially, the hope was to solve the problem of mental causation, in particular the kind of causal exclusion reasoning made famous by Jaegwon Kim, in a way acceptable to non-reductive physicalists. The paper asks whether a proper explication of the realization relation can indeed help explain how physically realized mental properties can be causally efficacious in the causally closed physical world and argues for a negative answer: it is important for the non-reductive physicalist to understand what exactly the realization relation amounts to, but it does not solve the problem of mental causation. (shrink)
Consider what the brain-state theorist has to do to make good his claims. He has to specify a physical–chemical state such that any organism (not just a mammal) is in pain if and only if (a) it possesses a brain of suitable physical–chemical structure; and (b) its brain is in that physical–chemical state. This means that the physical–chemical state in question must be a possible state of a mammalian brain, a reptilian brain, a mollusc’s brain (octopuses (...) are mollusca, and certainly feel pain), etc. At the same time, it must not be a possible (physically possible) state of the brain of any physically possible creature that cannot feel pain. Even if such a state can be found, it must be nomologically certain that it will also be a state of the brain of any extraterrestrial life that may be found that will be capable of feeling pain before we can even entertain the supposition that it may be pain. It is not altogether impossible that such a state will be found... . But this is certainly an ambitious hypothesis. (Putnam 1967/1975, p. 436) The belief that mental states are multiply realized is now nearly universal among philosophers, as is the belief that this fact decisively refutes the identity theory. I argue that the empirical support for multiple realization does not justify the confidence that has been placed in it. In order for multiple realization of mental states to be an objection to the identity theory, the neurological differences among pains, for example, must be such as to guarantee that they are of distinct neurological kinds. But the phenomena traditionally cited do not provide evidence of that sort of variation. In particular, examples of neural plasticity do not provide such evidence. (shrink)
Defenders of the subset view of realization have claimed that we can resolve well-known worries about mental-physical causal overdetermination by holding that mental properties are subset realized by physical properties, that instances of subset realized properties are parts of physical realizers, and that part-whole overdetermination is unproblematic. I challenge the claim that the overdetermination generated by the subset view can be legitimated by appealing to more mundane part-whole overdetermination. I conclude that the subset view does not (...) provide a unique solution to overdetermination worries. (shrink)
This paper examines the standard view of realization operative incontemporary philosophy of mind, and proposes an alternative, generalperspective on realization. The standard view can be expressed, insummary form, as the conjunction of two theses, the sufficiency thesis andthe constitutivity thesis. Physicalists of both reductionist and anti-reductionist persuasions share a conception of realization wherebyrealizations are determinative of the properties they realize and physically constitutive of the individuals with those properties. Centralto the alternative view that I explore here is (...) the idea that the requisite,metaphysically robust notion of realization is ineliminably context-sensitive. I shall argue that the sufficiency and constitutivity theses aretypically not jointly satisfied by any one candidate realizer, and that goingcontext-sensitive in one's metaphysics is preferable to the standard view.The context-sensitive views developed here are implicit in a range ofcommon views in both the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of biology,even if they have not been explicitly articulated, and even though theyundermine other views that are commonly endorsed. (shrink)
Orthodox quantum mechanics is technically built around an element that von Neumann called Process 1. In its basic form it consists of an action that reduces the prior state of a physical system to a sum of two parts, which can be regarded as the parts corresponding to the answers ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ to a specific question that this action poses, or ‘puts to nature’. Nature returns one answer or the other, in accordance with statistical weightings specified by the (...) theory. Thus the standard statistical element in quantum theory enters only after the Process-1 choice is made, while the known deterministic element in quantum theory governs the dynamics that prevails between the reduction events, but not the process that determines which of the continuum of allowed Process-1 probing actions will actually occur. The rules governing that selection process are not fixed by the theory in its present form. This freedom can be used to resolve in a natural way an apparent problem of the orthodox theory, its biocentrism. That resolution produces a rationally coherent realization of the theory that preserves the basic orthodox structure but allows naturally.. (shrink)
Because intelligent agents employ physically embodied cognitive systems to reason about the world, their cognitive abilities are constrained by the laws of physics. Scientists have used digital computers to develop and validate theories of physically embodied cognition. Computational theories of intelligence have advanced our understanding of the nature of intelligence and have yielded practically useful systems exhibiting some degree of intelligence. However, the view of cognition as algorithms running on digital computers rests on implicit assumptions about the physical world (...) that are incorrect. Recently, the view is emerging of computing systems as goal-directed agents, evolving during problem solving toward improved world models and better task performance. A full realization of this vision requires a new logic for computing that incorporates learning from experience as an intrinsic part of the logic, and that permits full exploitation of the quantum nature of the physical world. This paper proposes a theory of physically embodied cognitive agents founded upon first-order logic, Bayesian decision theory, and quantum physics. An abstract architecture for a physically embodied cognitive agent is presented. The cognitive aspect is represented as a Bayesian decision theoretic agent; the physical aspect is represented as a quantum process; and these aspects are related through von Neumann’s principle of psycho-physical parallelism. Alternative metaphysical positions regarding the meaning of quantum probabilities and the role of efficacious choices by agents are discussed in relation to the abstract agent architecture. The concepts are illustrated with an extended example from the domain of science fiction. (shrink)
The mind-body problem arises because all theories about mind-brain connections are too deeply obscure to gain general acceptance. This essay suggests a clear, simple, mind-brain solution that avoids all these perennial obscurities. (1) It does so, first of all, by reworking Strawson and Stoljar’s views. They argue that while minds differ from observable brains, minds can still be what brains are physically like behind the appearances created by our outer senses. This could avoid many obscurities. But to clearly do so, (...) it must first clear up its own deep obscurity about what brains are like behind appearances, and how they create the mind’s privacy, unity and qualia – all of which observable brains lack. (2) This can ultimately be done with a clear, simple assumption: our consciousness is the physical substance that certain brain events consist of beyond appearances. For example, the distinctive electrochemistry in nociceptor ion channels wholly consists of pain. This rejects that pain is a brain property: instead it’s a brain substance that occupies space in brains, and exerts forces by which it’s indirectly detectable via EEGs. (3) This assumption is justified because treating pains as physical substances avoids the perennial obscurities in mind-body theories. For example, this ‘clear physicalism’ avoids the obscure nonphysical pain of dualism and its spinoffs. Pain is instead an electrochemical substance. It isn’t private because it’s hidden in nonphysical minds, but instead because it’s just indirectly detected in the physical world in ways that leave its real nature hidden. (4) Clear physicalism also avoids puzzling reductions of private pains into more fundamental terms of observable brain activity. Instead pain is a hidden, private substance underlying this observable activity. Also, pain is fundamental in itself, for it’s what some brain activity fundamentally consists of. This also avoids reductive idealist claims that the world just exists in the mind. They yield obscure views on why we see a world that isn’t really out there. (5) Clear physicalism also avoids obscure claims that pain is information processing which is realizable in multiple hardwares (not just in electrochemistry). Molecular neuroscience now casts doubt on multiple realization. Also, it’s puzzling how abstract information gets ‘realized’ in brains and affects brains (compare ancient quandries on how universals get embodied in matter). A related idea is that of supervenient properties in nonreductive physicalism. They involve obscure overdetermination and emergent consciousness. Clear physicalism avoids all this. Pain isn’t an abstract property obscurely related to brains – it’s simply a substance in brains. (6) Clear physicalism also avoids problems in neuroscience. Neuroscience explains the mind’s unity in problematic ways using synchrony, attention, etc.. Clear physicalism explains unity in terms of intense neuroelectrical activity reaching continually along brain circuits as a conscious whole. This fits evidence that just highly active, highly connected circuits are fully conscious. Neuroscience also has problems explaining how qualia are actually encoded by brains, and how to get from these abstract codes to actual pain, fear, etc.. Clear physicalism explains qualia electrochemically, using growing evidence that both sensory and emotional qualia correlate with very specific electrical channels in neural receptors. Multiple-realization advocates overlook this important evidence. (7) Clear physicalism thus bridges the mind-brain gulf by showing how brains can possess the mind’s qualia, unity and privacy – and how minds can possess features of brain activity like occupying space and exerting forces. This unorthodox nonreductive physicalism may be where physicalism leads to when stripped of all its reductive and nonreductive obscurities. It offers a clear, simple mind-body solution by just filling in what neuroscience is silent about, namely, what brain matter is like behind perceptions of it. (shrink)
Schaffer (2010) argues that the internal relatedness of all things, no matter how it is conceived, entails priority monism. He claims that a sufficiently pervasive internal relation among objects implies the priority of the whole, understood as a concrete object. This paper shows that at least in the case of an internal relatedness of all things conceived in terms of physical intentionality - one way to understand dispositions - priority monism not only doesn't follow but also is precluded. We (...) conclude that the internal relatedness of all things is compatible with several different ontologies (including varieties of pluralism) but entails nothing concerning dependence between concrete objects. (shrink)
The debate over physicalism in philosophy of mind can be seen as concerning an inconsistent tetrad of theses: (1) if physicalism is true, a priori physicalism is true; (2) a priori physicalism is false; (3) if physicalism is false, epiphenomenalism is true; (4) epiphenomenalism is false. This paper argues that one may resolve the debate by distinguishing two conceptions of the physical: on the theory-based conception.
This paper argues against the _realization principle_, which reifies the realization relation between lower-level and higher-level properties. It begins with a review of some principles of naturalistic metaphysics. Then it criticizes some likely reasons for embracing the realization principle, and finally it argues against the principle directly. The most likely reasons for embracing the principle depend on the dubious assumption that special science theories cannot be true unless special science predicates designate properties. The principle itself turns out to (...) be false because the realization relation fails the naturalistic test for reality: it makes no causal difference to the world.1. (shrink)
The Subset View of realization, though it has some attractive advantages, also has several problems. In particular, there are five main problems that have emerged in the literature: Double-Counting, The Part/Whole Problem, The “No Addition of Being” Problem, The Problem of Projectibility, and the Problem of Spurious Kinds. Each is reviewed here, along with solutions (or partial solutions) to them. Taking these problems seriously constrains the form that a Subset view can take, and thus limits the kinds of relations (...) that can fulfill the realization relation on this view. (shrink)
Multiple realizability 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 multiple realizability: "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 multiple realizability has played a central role, for example, whether the nonreductive consequences of multiple realizability can be circumvented by scientific theories framed in terms of narrow domain-specific properties, or wide disjunctive properties. (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 multiple realizability 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)
Abstract: It is generally accepted that the most serious threat to the possibility of mental causation is posed by the causal self-sufficiency of physical causal processes. I argue, however, that this feature of the world, which I articulate in principle I call Completeness, in fact poses no genuine threat to mental causation. Some find Completeness threatening to mental causation because they confuse it with a stronger principle, which I call Closure. Others do not simply conflate Completeness and Closure, (...) but hold that Completeness, together with certain plausible assumptions, _entails_ Closure. I refute the most fully worked-out version of such an argument. Finally, some find Completeness all by itself threatening to mental causation. I argue that one will only find Completeness threatening if one operates with a philosophically distorted conception of mental causation. I thereby defend what I call naïve realism about mental causation. (shrink)
The very last of words of Naming and Necessity are ‘The third lecture suggests that a good deal of what contemporary philosophy regards as mere physical necessity is actually necessary tout court. The question how far this can be pushed is one I leave for further work.’ Kripke (1980). To my knowledge he never conducted that further work; moreover, no one following him has wished to take up the baton either. Herein, I argue that in general, physical necessity (...) is neither reducible to, nor implies, tout court necessity. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that even if Kripke’s speculations are restricted to a subset of the physical necessities where it might be granted that all such are necessary tout court, physical necessity is still not reducible to tout court necessity. (shrink)
Most scientists and theorists concerned with the problem of consciousness focus on our consciousness of the physical world (our sensations, feelings, and awareness). In this paper I consider our consciousness of the mental world (our thoughts about thoughts, intentions, wishes, and emotions).The argument is made that these are two distinct forms of consciousness, the evidence for this deriving from studies of autism. Autism is a severe childhood psychiatric condition in which individuals may be conscious of the physical world (...) but not of the mental world. Relevant experimental evidence is described, including some recent neuroimaging studies pointing towards the neural basis of our consciousness of the mental. (shrink)
A Physicalist Manifesto is the fullest treatment yet of the comprehensive physicalist view that, in some important sense, everything is physical. Andrew Melnyk argues that the view is best formulated by appeal to a carefully worked-out notion of realization, rather than supervenience; that, so formulated, physicalism must be importantly reductionist; that it need not repudiate causal and explanatory claims framed in non-physical language; and that it has the a posteriori epistemic status of a broad-scope scientific hypothesis. Two (...) concluding chapters argue in unprecedented detail that contemporary science provides no significant empirical evidence against physicalism and some considerable evidence for it. Written in a brisk, candid, and exceptionally clear style, this book should appeal to professionals and students in philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and philosophy of science. (shrink)
There is currently a significant amount of interest in understanding and developing theories of realization. Naturally arguments have arisen about the adequacy of some theories over others. Many of these arguments have a point. But some can be resolved by seeing that the theories of realization in question are not genuine competitors because they fall under different conceptual traditions with different but compatible goals. I will first describe three different conceptual traditions of realization that are implicated by (...) the arguments under discussion. I will then examine the arguments, from an older complaint by Norman Malcolm against a familiar functional theory to a recent argument by Thomas Polger against an assortment of theories that traffic in inherited causal powers, showing how they can be resolved by situating the theories under their respective conceptual traditions. (shrink)
I resolve an argument over “flat” versus “dimensioned” theories of realization. The theories concern, in part, whether realized and realizing properties are instantiated by the same individual (the flat theory) or different individuals in a part-whole relationship (the dimensioned theory). Carl Gillett has argued that the two views conflict, and that flat theories should be rejected on grounds that they fail to capture scientific cases involving a dimensioned relation between individuals and their constituent parts. I argue on the contrary (...) that the two types of theory complement one another, even on the same range of scientific cases. I illustrate the point with two popular functionalist versions of flat and dimensioned positions – causal-role functionalism and a functional analysis by decomposition – that combine into a larger picture I call “comprehensive functional realization.” I also respond to some possible objections to this synthesis of functionalist views. (shrink)
This volume brings together a number of perspectives on the nature of realization explanation and experimentation in the ‘special’ and biological sciences as well as the related issues of psychoneural reduction and cognitive extension. The first two papers in the volume may be regarded as offering direct responses to the questions: (1) What model of realization is appropriate for understanding the metaphysics of science? and (2) What kind of philosophical work is such a model ultimately supposed to do?
James decides that the best price today on pork chops is at Supermarket S, then James makes driving motions for twenty minutes, then James’ car enters the parking lot at Supermarket S. Common sense supposes that the stages in this sequence may be causally connected, and that the pattern is commonplace: James’ belief (together with his desire for pork chops) causes bodily behavior, and the behavior causes a change in James’ whereabouts. Anyone committed to the idea that beliefs and desires (...) are states installed by evolution must, it seems, think something similar. For how can one see beliefs and desires as conferring selective advantage if not by supposing that, by causing bodily behavior in their subjects, they brought about changes in their subjects’ surroundings? Yet many, many philosophers currently think or worry that mental causation is illusory (see, e.g., Heil and Mele 1993, or Macdonald and Macdonald 1995). Any physical changes which a mental state appears to cause can be viewed as a complex event involving microparticles, and for any such complex event, many philosophers suppose, there will have been previous microphysical occurrences sufficient to cause it. Barring routine overdetermination of such complex events, the apparent causation of mental events seems to be excluded. Nor does it help to say that some salient segment of the previous microphysical event just is the mental event, differently described (Davidson 1970). For describing the previous events as microphysical seems to spotlight the very features in virtue of which they did their causal work; the mental features seem epiphenomenal (Yablo 1992b: pp. 425-36; Yablo 1992a). This paper argues that the complex physical events, which mental events seem excluded from causing, are not caused at all. For they are either accidents, in something like Aristotle’s sense (Sorabji 1980: pp. 3-25), or coincidences, in a sense which David Owens has recently sharpened (Owens 1992). (shrink)
For the greater part of the last 50 years, it has been common for philosophers of mind and cognitive scientists to invoke the notion of realization in discussing the relationship between the mind and the brain. In traditional philosophy of mind, mental states are said to be realized, instantiated, or implemented in brain states. Artificial intelligence is sometimes described as the attempt either to model or to actually construct systems that realize some of the same psychological abilities that we (...) and other living creatures possess. The claim that specific psychological.. (shrink)
An influential tradition in the philosophy of causation has it that all token causal facts are, or are reducible to, facts about difference-making. Challenges to this tradition have typically focused on pre-emption cases, in which a cause apparently fails to make a difference to its effect. However, a novel challenge to the difference-making approach has recently been issued by Alyssa Ney. Ney defends causal foundationalism, which she characterizes as the thesis that facts about difference-making depend upon facts about physical (...) causation. She takes this to imply that causation is not fundamentally a matter of difference-making. In this paper, I defend the difference-making approach against Ney’s argument. I also offer some positive reasons for thinking, pace Ney, that causation is fundamentally a matter of difference-making. (shrink)
The by now famous exclusion problem for mental causation admits only one possible solution, as far as I can see, namely: that mental and physical properties are linked by a vertical relation. In this paper, starting from what I take to be sensible premises about properties, I will be visiting some general relations between them, in order to see whether, first, it is true that some vertical relation, other than identity, makes different sorts of causation compatible and second, whether (...)physical and mental properties can be pairs of such relation. (shrink)
A common conception of what it is for one property to “realize” another suggests that it is the realizer property that does the causal work, and that the realized property is epiphenomenal. The same conception underlies George Bealer’s argument that functionalism leads to the absurd conclusion that what we take to be self-ascriptions of a mental state are really self-ascriptions of “first-order” properties that realize that state. This paper argues for a different concept of realization. A property realizes another (...) if its “forward looking” causal features are a subset of those of the property realized. The instantiation of the realizer property will include the instantiation of the property realized; and when the effects produced are due to the causal features of the latter, it is the instantiation of it that is appropriately regarded as their cause. Epiphenomenalism is avoided, and so is Bealer’s absurd conclusion. (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)
We wish to defend Jonathan Westphal's view that colour is complex against a recent ‘phenomenological’ criticism of Eric Rubenstein. There is often thought to be a conflict between two kinds of determinants of colour, physical and phenomenal. On the one hand there are the complex physical facts about colour, such as the determination of a surface colour by an absorption spectrum. There is also, however, the fact that the apparently simple phenomenological quality of what is seen is a (...) function of the physiological and psychological state of the viewing subject. Should the physical trump the phenomenal, or is it the other way round? Much of the phenomenal variation of colour, however, is explained by physical facts. There is a physics and a psychophysics of colour. Colours appear, to the colour scientists at least, to be in some sense objective, a sense not explained by the view that they are purely phenomenal. Taking physics and psychophysics into account will mean rejecting the claim that the content of what our concepts of colours are concepts of is exhausted by the purely phenomenal, or that we can determine these concepts simply by gazing at a colour. Taking account of physics will lead, as Westphal argued, instead to a view about white and the other colour terms like Putnam's account of gold. Necessary truths about colours cannot be explained without reference to the logic of the compossibility of what is given in reflection and absorption spectra, the analogue of H2O. (shrink)
Kant gave lectures on physical geography and anthropology and called them cosmopolitan philosophy. His physical geography lectures were intended to teach students not just facts but also how to have practical judgment (Klugheit) and were to prepare students for their place in the world. This article shows how the physical geography lectures were organized for that purpose.
Intentionality is characteristic of many psychological phenomena. It is commonly held by philosophers that intentionality cannot be ascribed to purely physical systems. This view does not merely deny that psychological language can be reduced to physiological language. It also claims that the appropriateness of some psychological explanation excludes the possibility of any underlying physiological or causal account adequate to explain intentional behavior. This is a thesis which I do not accept. I shall argue that physical systems of a (...) specific sort will show the characteristic features of intentionality. Psychological subjects are, under an alternative description, purely physical systems of a certain sort. The intentional description and the physical description are logically distinct, and are not intertranslatable. Nevertheless, the features of intentionality may be explained by a purely causal account, in the sense that they may be shown to be totally dependent upon physical processes. (shrink)
Some commentators have argued that there is no room in Aristotle's natural science for simple, or unconditional, physical necessity, for the only necessity that governs all natural substances is hypothetical and teleological. Against this view I argue that, according to Aristotle, there are two types of unconditional physical necessity at work in the material elements, the one teleological, governing their natural motions, and the other non-teleological, governing their physical interaction. I argue as well that these two types (...) of simple necessity also govern everything made out of the elements, that is, all other natural substances and artifacts. (shrink)
This accessible and engaging text explores the relationship between philosophy, science and physical geography. It addresses an imbalance that exists in opinion, teaching and to a lesser extent research, between a philosophically enriched human geography and a perceived philosophically ignorant physical geography. Science, Philosophy and Physical Geography , challenges the myth that there is a single self-evident scientific method, that can and is applied in a straightforward manner by physical geographers. It demonstrates the variety of alternative (...) philosophical perspectives. Furthermore it emphasizes the difference that the real world geographical context and the geographer make to the study of environmental phenomenon. This includes a consideration of the dynamic relationship between human and physical geography. Finally, it demonstrates the relevance of philosophy for both an understanding of published material and for the design and implementation of studies in physical geography. Key themes such as global warming, species and evolution and fluvial geomorphology are used to provide illustrations of key concepts in each chapter. Further reading is provided at the end of each chapter. (shrink)
The by now famous exclusion problem for mental causation admits only one possible solution, as far as I can see, namely: that mental and physical properties are linked by a vertical relation. In this paper, starting from what I take to be sensible premises about properties, I will be visiting some general relations between them, in order to see whether, first, it is true that some vertical relationship, other than identity, makes different sorts of causation compatible and second, whether (...)physical and mental properties can be pairs of such relationship. (shrink)
The necessary but not sufficient conditions for biological informational concepts like signs, symbols, memories, instructions, and messages are (1) an object or referent that the information is about, (2) a physical embodiment or vehicle that stands for what the information is about (the object), and (3) an interpreter or agent that separates the referent information from the vehicle’s material structure, and that establishes the stands-for relation. This separation is named the epistemic cut, and explaining clearly how the stands-for relation (...) is realized is named the symbol-matter problem. (4) A necessary physical condition is that all informational vehicles are material boundary conditions or constraints acting on the lawful dynamics of local systems. It is useful to define a dependency hierarchy of information types: (1) syntactic information (i.e., communication theory), (2) heritable information acquired by variation and natural selection, (3) non-heritable learned or creative information, and (4) measured physical information in the context of natural laws. High information storage capacity is most reliably implemented by discrete linear sequences of non-dynamic vehicles, while the execution of information for control and construction is a non-holonomic dynamic process. The first epistemic cut occurs in self-replication. The first interpretation of base sequence information is by protein folding; the last interpretation of base sequence information is by natural selection. Evolution has evolved senses and nervous systems that acquire non-heritable information, and only very recently after billions of years, the competence for human language. Genetic and human languages are the only known complete general purpose languages. They have fundamental properties in common, but are entirely different in their acquisition, storage and interpretation. (shrink)
We investigate the use of coalgebra to represent quantum systems, thus providing a basis for the use of coalgebraic methods in quantum information and computation. Coalgebras allow the dynamics of repeated measurement to be captured, and provide mathematical tools such as final coalgebras, bisimulation and coalgebraic logic. However, the standard coalgebraic framework does not accommodate contravariance, and is too rigid to allow physical symmetries to be represented. We introduce a fibrational structure on coalgebras in which contravariance is represented by (...) indexing. We use this structure to give a universal semantics for quantum systems based on a final coalgebra construction. We characterize equality in this semantics as projective equivalence. We also define an analogous indexed structure for Chu spaces, and use this to obtain a novel categorical description of the category of Chu spaces. We use the indexed structures of Chu spaces and coalgebras over a common base to define a truncation functor from coalgebras to Chu spaces. This truncation functor is used to lift the full and faithful representation of the groupoid of physical symmetries on Hilbert spaces into Chu spaces, obtained in our previous work, to the coalgebraic semantics. (shrink)
This engaging and informative text will hold the attention of students and scholars as they take a journey through time to understand the role that history and philosophy have played in shaping the course of sport and physical education in Western and selected non-Western civilizations. Using appropriate theoretical and interpretive frameworks, students will investigate topics such as the historical relationship between mind and body; what philosophers and intellectuals have said about the body as a source of knowledge; educational philosophy (...) and the value of physical education and/or sport; philosophical positions that have impacted the historical development of sport and physical education; the history of women in sport and physical education; the role and scope of sport and physical education in Ancient Greece and Rome; the Ancient Olympic Games; the relationship between sport and religion in ancient and modern times; the theoretical and professional development of physical education; the rise of sport in modern America; the history and politics of the modern Olympic Games; and the contributions of men, women, and social movements to the development of sport and physical education from ancient times to the modern era. (shrink)
We want to consider anew the question, which is recurrent along the history of philosophy, of the relationship between rationality and mathematics, by inquiring to which extent the structuration of rationality, which ensures the unity of its function under a variety of forms (and even according to an evolution of these forms), could be considered as homeomorphic with that of mathematical thought, taken in its movement and made concrete in its theories. This idea, which is as old as philosophy itself, (...) although it has not been dominant, has still been present to some degree in the thought of modern science, in Descartes as well as in Kant, Poincaré or Einstein (and a few other scientists and philosophers). It has been often harshly questioned, notably in the contemporaneous period, due to the failure of the logistic programme, as well as to the variety of “empirical” knowledges, and, in a general way, to the character of knowledges that show them as transitory, evolutive and mind-built. However, the analysis of scientific thought through its inventive and creative processes leads to characterize this thought as a type of rational form whose configurations can be detailed rather precisely. In this work we shall propose, first, a quick sketch of some philosophical requirements for such a research programme, among which the need for an harmonization, and even a conciliation, between the notions of rational (or rationality), of intuitive grasp and of creative thought. Then we shall examine some processes of creative scientific thought bearing on the knowledge and the understanding of the world, distinct from mathematics although keeping tight relations with them. Contemporary physical theories are privileged witnesses in this respect, for in them the rational thought of phenomena makes an intrinsic use of mathematical thought, which contributes to the structuration of the formers and to the expression of their concepts (which entails the physical contents of the latter). The General Theory of Relativity and the Quantum Theory are exemplar to this, as they directly reveal what can be called the “drag of physical thought par the mathematical form”, which makes possible to overcome the limitations of the physical knowledge previously adquired. This process is tightly related to the modalities and to the stucture of the rational thought underlying it. This is what we would like to show. DOI:10.5007/1808-1711.2011v15n2p303. (shrink)
The relationship between self-realization, thus of what I really wholeheartedly endorse and I owe to myself, and morality or what we owe to others is normally thought of as antagonism, or as a pleasant coincidence: Only if I am indebted to such relations as my fundamental projects that I care wholeheartedly about, does morality have a direct connection to self-realization. The aim of this article is to argue against this picture. I will be argued that the structure of (...) self-realization and the caring activity involved commits the person to values that are beyond the object of his wholehearted caring, in a way that might just pave the way to morality. -/- . (shrink)
This paper argues that there are no people. If identity isn't what matters in survival, psychological connectedness isn't what matters either. Further, fissioning cases do not support the claim that connectedness is what matters. I consider Peter Unger's view that what matters is a continuous physicalrealization of a core psychology. I conclude that if identity isn't what matters in survival, nothing matters. This conclusion is deployed to argue that there are no people. Objections to Eliminativism are considered, (...) especially that morality cannot survive the loss of persons. (shrink)
Functionalism cannot accommodate the possibility of mad pain—pain whose causes and effects diverge from those of the pain causal role. This is because what it is to be in pain according to functionalism is simply to be in a state that occupies the pain role. And the identity theory cannot accommodate the possibility of Martian pain—pain whose physicalrealization is foot-cavity inflation rather than C-fibre activation (or whatever physiological state occupies the pain-role in normal humans). After all, what (...) it is to be in pain according to the identity theory is to be in whatever state that occupies the pain role for us. (shrink)
Given their physicalrealization, what causal work is left for functional properties to do? Humean solutions to the exclusion problem (e.g. overdetermination and difference-making) typically appeal to counterfactual and/or nomic relations between functional property-instances and behavioural effects, tacitly assuming that such relations suffice for causal work. Clarification of the notion of causal work, I argue, shows not only that such solutions don't work, but also reveals a novel solution to the exclusion problem based on the relations between dispositional (...) properties at different levels of mechanism, which involves three central claims: (i) the causal work of properties consists in grounding dispositions, (ii) functional properties are dispositions, and (iii) the dispositions of mechanisms are grounded in the dispositions of their components. Treating functional mental properties as dispositions of components in psychological mechanisms, I argue that such properties do the causal work of grounding agent-level dispositions. These dispositions, while ultimately grounded in the physical realizers of mental properties, are indirectly so grounded, through a hierarchy of grounding relations that extends upwards, of necessity, through the mental domain. (shrink)
Atomistic metaphysics motivated an explanatory strategy which science has pursued with great success since the scientific revolution. By decomposing matter into its atomic and subatomic parts physics gave us powerful explanations and accurate predictions as well as providing a unifying framework for the rest of science. The success of the decompositional strategy has encouraged a widespread conviction that the physical world forms a compositional hierarchy that physics and other sciences are progressively articulating. But this conviction does not stand up (...) to a closer examination of how physics has treated composition, as a variety of case studies will show. (shrink)
Throughout the 1990s, Jaegwon Kim developed a line of argument that what purport to be nonreductive forms of physicalism are ultimately untenable, since they cannot accommodate the causal efficacy of mental states. His argument has received a great deal of discussion, much of it critical. We believe that, while the argument needs some tweaking, its basic thrust is sound. In what follows, we will lay out our preferred version of the argument and highlight its essential dependence on a causal-powers metaphysic, (...) a dependence that Kim does not acknowledge in his official presentations of the argument.i We then discuss two recent physicalist strategies for preserving the causal efficacy of the mental in the face of this sort of challenge, strategies that (ostensibly) endorse a causal powers metaphysics of properties while offering distinctive accounts of the physicalrealization of mental properties. We argue that neither picture can be satisfactorily worked out, and that seeing why they fail strongly suggests that nonreductive physicalism and a causal powers metaphysic are not compatible, as our original argument contends. Since we also believe that robust realism concerning mental causation should not be abandoned, we take the argument of this paper to strongly motivate an account on which the mental is unrealized by and ontologically emergent from the physical. In a final section, we sketch what an ontologically emergentist account of the mental might look like. (shrink)
It is commonly believed that there is a fundamental incompatibility between multiple realization and type identity in the philosophy of mind. This claim can be challenged, however, since a single neural type may be realized by different microphysical types. In this case, the identity statement would connect the psychological and the neural type, while the neural type, in turn, could be multiply realized by different microphysical types. Such a multiple realization of higher level types occurs quite frequently even (...) within physics and it should be acceptable for physicalism in general. (shrink)
Conscious experience presents a deep puzzle. On the one hand, a fairly robust materialism must be true in order to explain how it is that conscious events causally interact with non-conscious, physical events. On the other hand, we cannot explain how physical phenomena give rise to conscious experience. In this wide-ranging study, Joseph Levine explores both sides of the mind-body dilemma, presenting the first book-length treatment of his highly influential ideas on the "explanatory gap," the fact that we (...) can't explain the nature of phenomenal experience in terms of its physicalrealization. He presents a careful argument that there is such a gap, and, after providing intriguing analyses of virtually all existing theories of consciousness, shows that recent attempts to close it fall short of the mark. Levine concludes that in the foreseeable future consciousness will remain a mystery. (shrink)
In the first section of this paper, I articulate Jaegwon Kim's argument against emergent down ward causation. In the second section, I canvas four responses to Kim's argument and argue that each fails. In the third section, I show that emergent downward causation does not, contra Kim, entail overdetermination. I argue that supervenience of emergent upon base properties is not sufficient for nomological causal relationsbetween emergent and base properties. What sustains Kim's argument is rather the claim that emergent properties realized (...) by base properties can have no causal powers distinct from those base properties. I argue that this is false. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophy of mind is dominated by a conception of our propositional attitude concepts as comprising a proto-scientific causal-explanatory theory of behavior. This conception has given rise to a spate of recent worries about the prospects for “naturalizing” the theory. In this paper I return to the roots of the “theory-theory” of the attitudes in Wilfrid Sellars’s classic “Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind.” I present an alternative to the theory-theory’s account of belief in the form of a parody of (...) Sellars’s “Myth of Jones,” one that highlights the normative and pragmatic aspects of this concept and, hopefully, enables us to bypass questions about its physical “realization.”. (shrink)
This paper explicates two notions of emergencewhich are based on two ways of distinguishinglevels of properties for dynamical systems.Once the levels are defined, the strategies ofcharacterizing the relation of higher level to lower levelproperties as diachronic and synchronic emergenceare the same. In each case, the higher level properties aresaid to be emergent if they are novel or irreducible with respect to the lower level properties. Novelty andirreducibility are given precise meanings in terms of the effectsthat the change of a bifurcation (...) or perturbation parameterin the system has. (The same strategy can be applied to otherways of separating levels of properties, like themicro/macro distinction.)The notions of emergence developed here are notions of emergencein a weak sense: the higher level emergent properties wecapture are always structural properties (or are realized insuch properties), that is, they are defined in terms of the lowerlevel properties and their relations. Diachronic and synchronicemergent properties are distinctions within thecategory of structural properties. (shrink)
Phenomenal consciousness is often thought to involve a first-person perspective or point of view which makes available to the subject categorically private, first-person facts about experience, facts that are irreducible to third-person physical, functional, or representational facts. This paper seeks to show that on a representational account of consciousness, we don't have an observational perspective on experience that gives access to such facts, although our representational limitations and the phenomenal structure of consciousness make it strongly seem that we do. (...) Qualia seem intrinsic and functionally arbitrary, and thus categorically private, because they are first-order sensory representations that are not themselves directly represented. Further, the representational architecture that on this account instantiates conscious subjectivity helps to generate the intuition of observerhood, since the phenomenal subject may be construed as outside, not within, experience. Once the seemings of private phenomenal facts and the observing subject are discounted, we can understand consciousness as a certain variety of neurally instantiated, behaviour controlling content, that constituted by an integrated representation of the organism in the world. Neuroscientific research suggests that consciousness and its characteristic behavioural capacities are supported by widely distributed but highly integrated neural processes involving communication between multiple functional sub- systems in the brain. This 'global workspace' may be the brain's physicalrealization of the representational architecture that constitutes consciousness. (shrink)
It is here argued that functionalist constraints on psychology do not preclude the applicability of classic forms of reduction and, therefore, do not support claims to a principled, or de jure, autonomy of psychology. In Part I, after isolating one minimal restriction any functionalist theory must impose on its categories, it is shown that any functionalism imposing an additional constraint of de facto autonomy must also be committed to a pure functionalist--that is, a computationalist--model for psychology. Using an extended parallel (...) to the reduction of Mendelian to molecular genetics, it is shown in Parts II and III that, contrary to the claims of Hilary Putnam and Jerry Fodor, there is no inconsistency between computational models and classical reductionism: neither plurality of physicalrealization nor plurality of function are inconsistent with reductionism as defended by Ernest Nagel. Employing the results of Part I, the conclusions of Parts II and III are generalized in Part IV to cover any version of functionalism whatsoever; thus, functionalism and reductionism are shown to be consistent. It is urged in conclusion that although a de facto form of autonomy is defensible, there are sound methodological grounds for unconditionally rejecting any principled version of the autonomy of psychology. (shrink)
The view that the relationship between minds and brains can be thought of on the model of software and hardware is pervasive. The most common versions of the view, known as functionalism in philosophy of mind, hold that minds are realized by brains.
By quantifying over properties we cannot create new properties any more than by quantifying over individuals we can create new individuals. Someone murdered Jones, and the murderer is either Smith or Jones or Wang. That “someone”, who murdered Jones, is not a person in addition to Smith, Jones, and Wang, and it would be absurd to posit a disjunctive person, Smith-or-Jones-or-Wang, with whom to identify the murderer. The same goes for second-order properties and their realizers. (Kim (1997a), p.201).