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Summary The mind-brain identity theory (or identity thesis) is the assertion that mental states/events/processes are identical to brain states/events/processes. The type identity theory (often called just the "identity theory") says that mental types are physical types, while the token identity theory says that mental tokens are physical tokens.  Over the years the thesis has been successively understood as involving a contingent identity relation, an analytic identity relation, and then an posteriori necessary identity relation.  The most common objection to the type identity theory is the objection from multiple realizability.
Key works The thesis is explicitly defended in seminal articles by Place 1956Feigl 1958Smart 1959. This is the early stage, when the thesis is understood as an empirical and contingent one. A powerful attack on this version is put forward by Kripke 1980.  The analytic identity thesis appears for the first time in Lewis 1970, then in Armstrong 1968. Criticism of this version appears appears in Nagel 1979Jackson 1982, and Chalmers 1996. Defences appear in Braddon-Mitchell 2003 and Jackson 2003. A more recent defence, based on probability theory, appears in Aranyosi 2011.  The empirical necessary identity thesis is defended, among others, by Loar 1990 and Papineau 2002. Criticism of this approach is to be found in Chalmers 1996 and Chalmers 2009.  The multiple realizability objection to all forms of the type identity theory can be found in Putnam 1963.
Introductions A 30-year retrospective of the transformations of the thesis appears in Place 1988. A more recent introduction to and history of the thesis appears in Smart 2007.
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  1. added 2019-11-07
    The Ontology of Mind: Events, States and Processes.Daniel Stoljar & Helen Steward - 1999 - Philosophical Review 108 (3):418.
    The aim of this book is to argue that issues in metaphysics—in particular issues about the nature of states and causation—will have a significant impact in philosophy of mind. As Steward puts it: “the category of state has been so grossly misunderstood that some theories of mind which are supposed to encompass entities traditionally regarded as falling under the category, e.g., beliefs and desires, cannot so much as be sensibly formulated, once we are clearer about the nature of states”. According (...)
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  2. added 2019-10-29
    Autonomous Mental Causation and Mental‐Qua‐Mental Causation.Dwayne Moore - 2019 - Philosophical Forum 50 (2):245-267.
    Nonreductive physicalists endorse autonomous mental causation, the view that mental causes, as distinct from physical causes, bring about mental and physical effects. The causal exclusion problem has recently pressured nonreductive physicalists to replace autonomous mental causation with reduced mental causation, the view that mental causes, as physical causes, bring about mental and physical effects. Reduced mental causation, in turn, faces the problem of mental quausation, according to which reduced mental causation only delivers mental‐as‐physical causation, not the requisite mental‐as‐mental causation. Proponents (...)
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  3. added 2019-09-17
    Free Will, the Self and the Brain.Gilberto Gomes - 2007 - Behavioral Sciences and the Law 2 (25):221-234.
    The free will problem is defined and three solutions are discussed: no-freedom theory, libertarianism, and compatibilism. Strict determinism is often assumed in arguing for libertarianism or no-freedom theory. It assumes that the history of the universe is fixed, but modern physics admits a certain degree of randomness in the determination of events. However, this is not enough for a compatibilist position—which is favored here—since freedom is not randomness. It is the I that chooses what to do. It is argued that (...)
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  4. added 2019-09-13
    Mental Causation and Ontology.Sophie C. Gibb, Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson & E. Jonathan Lowe (eds.) - 2013 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This book demonstrates the importance of ontology for a central debate in philosophy of mind. Mental causation seems an obvious aspect of the world.
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  5. added 2019-06-06
    Consciousness, Origins.Gregory Nixon - 2016 - In Harold L. Miller Jr (ed.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Theory in Psychology. Thousand Oaks, CA, USA: Sage Publications. pp. 172-176.
    To explain the origin of anything, we must be clear about that which we are explaining. There seem to be two main meanings for the term consciousness. One might be called open in that it equates consciousness with awareness and experience and considers rudimentary sensations to have evolved at a specific point in the evolution of increasing complexity. But certainly the foundation for such sensation is a physical body. It is unclear, however, exactly what the physical requirements are for a (...)
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  6. added 2019-06-06
    On Human Identity: The Intersubjective Path From Body to Mind*: Dialogue.John Russon - 2006 - Dialogue 45 (2):307-314.
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  7. added 2019-06-06
    Coupland and Gwyn’s Collection on Discourse, Body, Identity. [REVIEW]Gordon Alley-Young - 2005 - American Journal of Semiotics 21 (1/4):152-154.
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  8. added 2019-06-06
    Senses, Sensations and Brain Processes: A Criticism of the Property Dualism Argument.Leonard Clapp - 1998 - Southwest Philosophy Review 14 (1):139-148.
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  9. added 2019-06-06
    Indeterminacy, Opacity and the Identity Theory.Robert J. Stainton - 1995 - Critica 27 (80):49-56.
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  10. added 2019-06-06
    Consciousness and Causality. [REVIEW]Douglas C. Long - 1987 - Teaching Philosophy 10 (1):83-86.
    A debate between D. M. Armstrong and Norman Malcolm on the Mind-Body Problem. Physicalism vs. Wittgenstein.
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  11. added 2019-06-06
    Philosophy and Humanism. Renaissance Essays in Honor of Paul Oskar Kristeller. [REVIEW]F. W. J. - 1979 - Review of Metaphysics 33 (2):436-438.
    This Festschrift in Professor Kristeller’s honor consists of contributions by scholars who have had some connection with Columbia University, his "intellectual home in the United States for three decades." It also includes a Tabula Gratulatoria listing many other friends from the United States and Europe. The editor’s opening essay provides an interesting and informative account of this scholar’s academic career, and should be read together with the complete annotated bibliography of his publications through 1974. The latter lists 149 "major publications" (...)
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  12. added 2019-06-06
    The Property Objection and the Principle of Identity.Stuart E. Rosenbaum - 1977 - Philosophical Studies 32 (2):155-164.
    James cornman and r routley and v macrae have argued that the principle of identity (alias leibniz's law) is inconsistent with certain plausible and widely accepted identity statements; e.G., "the temperature of a gas is identical with the mean kinetic energy of the molecules of the gas." they argue on this ground that the principle of identity should be modified to remove this appearance of inconsistency. The requisite modification however, Removes whatever "metaphysical teeth" the unmodified version might have had. I (...)
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  13. added 2019-06-06
    Smart, Materialism and Occam's Razor.Peter Glassen - 1976 - Philosophy 51:349.
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  14. added 2019-06-06
    Matter and Mind, Two Essays in Epistemology. [REVIEW]S. P. - 1976 - Review of Metaphysics 30 (1):125-126.
    Dilman presents two related essays in Wittgensteinean ordinary language analysis of the concepts of "matter" and "mind." His argument has a straightforward conceptual basis: our usual expectations in the use of concepts such as "matter" determine the character of philosophical doubt. Our language assumes the material world, and in questioning the extent of our knowledge we must not jump to a logical and ontological level that doubts all understanding of matter in a way that misrepresents or denies the public reality (...)
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  15. added 2019-06-06
    "Critique of the Psycho-Physical Identity Theory" by Eric P. Polten. [REVIEW]J. J. C. Smart - 1975 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 5 (1):83.
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  16. added 2019-06-06
    Intentionality, Behavior, and Identity Theory.James D. Windes - 1975 - Behavior and Philosophy 3 (2):156.
  17. added 2019-06-06
    Critique of the Psycho-Physical Identity Theory, a Refutation of Scientific Materialism and an Establishment of Mind-Matter Dualism by Means of Philosophy and Scientific Method. [REVIEW]S. P. - 1974 - Review of Metaphysics 27 (4):809-810.
    This book is a rationalist critique of the identity theory, oriented by a discussion of Feigl’s significance-reference distinction. Large chapters on the impossibility of identity, on both methodological and empirical grounds, are filled with helpful quotes and clear interpretations of contemporary theories. For Polten dualism is not resolved by language clarification. "Morning star" and "evening star" do not have the same sense, nor do they refer to the same extension. They could not be substituted for one another. "X = Y (...)
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  18. added 2019-06-06
    General Philosophy, Science and Method. Essays in Honour of Ernest Nagel. Ed. By Sidney Morgenbesser, Patrick Suppes, and Morton White. London: Macmillan, 1969. Pp. X + 613. £5.50. [REVIEW]R. G. A. Dolby - 1973 - British Journal for the History of Science 6 (4):434-435.
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  19. added 2019-06-06
    The Identity Theory of Herbert Feigl.Gerald Hanratty - 1971 - Philosophical Studies 20:113-123.
    THE Identity Theory of Herbert Feigl is an elaborate and painstaking attempt to overcome the perplexities of the mind-body problem which Anglo-Saxon philosophers have inherited from Descartes and which has been compounded by the empiricist heritage of Hume. In common with influential contemporaries such as Russell, Ryle, Strawson and Hampshire, Feigl believes that the substance dualism of Descartes is an incoherent doctrine. There can be no adequate account of the nature and status of the person if mind and body, conscious (...)
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  20. added 2019-06-06
    Contemporary Philosophy in Australia.Robert and Rollins Brown - 1969 - New York: Routledge.
    First published in 2002. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
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  21. added 2019-06-06
    Contemporary Philosophy in Australia.Robert Richard Brown & Calvin Dwight Rollins - 1969 - New York: Allen & Unwin.
    First published in 2002. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
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  22. added 2019-06-06
    The Identity Theory of Mind.C. P. Presley (ed.) - 1967 - University of Queensland Press.
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  23. added 2019-06-06
    Philosophy and Scientific Realism.J. J. C. Smart - 1963 - Routledge.
    Originally published in 1963. In an introductory chapter the author argues that philosophy ought to be more than the art of clarifying thought and that it should concern itself with outlining a scientifically plausible world view. Early chapters deal with phenomenalism and the reality of theoretical entities, and with the relation between the physical and biological sciences. Free will, issues of time and space and man’s place in nature are covered in later chapters.
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  24. added 2019-06-06
    VI.—The Theory of Psycho-Physical Parallelism as a Working Hypothesis in Psychology.H. Wildon Carr - 1910 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 11 (1):129-143.
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  25. added 2019-06-05
    Mind–Brain Identity and Evidential Insulation.Jakob Hohwy - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 153 (3):377-395.
    Is it rational to believe that the mind is identical to the brain? Identity theorists say it is (or looks like it will be, once all the neuroscientific evidence is in), and they base this claim on a general epistemic route to belief in identity. I re-develop this general route and defend it against some objections. Then I discuss how rational belief in mind–brain identity, obtained via this route, can be threatened by an appropriately adjusted version of the anti-physicalist knowledge (...)
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  26. added 2019-06-04
    Professor Malcolm on “Scientific Materialism and the Identity Theory”.Ernest Sosa - 1965 - Dialogue 3 (4):422-423.
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  27. added 2019-04-26
    SEARLE, John : Seeing Things as They Are: A Theory of Perception. New York: Oxford University Press. [REVIEW]Alberto Luis López - 2017 - Daimon: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 71:216-222.
    Review of Searl's book Seeing Things as They are.
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  28. added 2019-02-07
    Theory of Purposive Behavior, Desire, and Belief, with Applications to the Issues of Materialism and the Objectivity of Value Judgments.Gregory Dean Weber - 1980 - Dissertation, Indiana University
    I examine the relations of three kinds of mental state--desire, belief, and purpose--to their manifestations in behavior, and derive from these relations certain consequences for the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of value. -/- Part I deals with how a purpose that is actually being acted upon is manifested in behavior. Tolman and Pepper held the thesis T: An agent A acts with purpose G if and only if A "persists until" G and A is "docile" with respect to (...)
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  29. added 2019-01-31
    Strong and Smart – Towards a Pedagogy for Emancipation: Education for First Peoples. [REVIEW]Nick Wilson - 2013 - Journal of Critical Realism 12 (3):400-404.
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  30. added 2019-01-30
    Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century: Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization-- Articles and Reviews 2006-2017 2nd Edition Feb 2018.Michael Starks - 2016 - Las Vegas, USA: Reality Press.
    This collection of articles was written over the last 10 years and edited to bring them up to date (2019). All the articles are about human behavior (as are all articles by anyone about anything), and so about the limitations of having a recent monkey ancestry (8 million years or much less depending on viewpoint) and manifest words and deeds within the framework of our innate psychology as presented in the table of intentionality. As famous evolutionist Richard Leakey says, it (...)
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  31. added 2018-09-04
    Flat Physicalism: Some Implications.Orly Shenker - 2017 - Iyyun 66:211-225.
    Flat Physicalism is a theory of through and through type reductive physicalism, understood in light of recent results in the conceptual foundations of physics. In Flat Physicalism, as in physics, so-called "high level" concepts and laws are nothing but partial descriptions of the complete states of affairs of the universe. "Flat physicalism" generalizes this idea, to form a reductive picture in which there is no room for levels, neither explanatory nor ontological. The paper explains how phenomena that seem to be (...)
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  32. added 2018-07-30
    Contribution à la Théorie de la Conscience, Conçue comme Activite du Cerveau.Gilberto Gomes - 1998 - Dissertation, Université Paris 7
    This thesis explores the possibility of theoretically conceiving consciousness as an activity of the brain. Objections, based on the concept of qualia, to the identification of consciousness with a brain activity are refuted. Phenomenal consciousness is identified with access-consciousness. Consciousness is conceived as a higher order processing of informational states of the brain. The state of consciousness represents an integration of prior nonconscious states. Libet’s research on the timing of conscious experience is reviewed and analyzed. His hypothesis of backward referral (...)
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  33. added 2018-07-06
    Further Thoughts on the Identity Theory.J. J. C. Smart - 1972 - The Monist 56 (2):149-162.
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  34. added 2018-07-06
    The Identity Thesis: A Reply to Prof. Garnett.J. J. C. Smart - 1965 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 43:82.
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  35. added 2018-06-07
    Multiple Realization and Compositional Variation.Kevin Morris - forthcoming - Synthese:1-19.
    It has often been thought that compositional variation across systems that are similar from the point of view of the special sciences provides a key point in favor of the multiple realization of special science kinds and in turn the broadly nonreductive consequences often thought to follow from multiple realization. Yet in a series of articles, and culminating in The Multiple Realization Book, Tom Polger and Larry Shapiro argue that an account of multiple realization demanding enough to yield such nonreductive (...)
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  36. added 2018-05-27
    Fizikalizam.Neven Sesardić - 1984 - Belgrade: Istraživačko-izdavački centar SSO Srbije.
  37. added 2018-05-26
    The Chaology of Mind.Adam Morton - 1988 - Analysis 48 (3):135.
    I explore the possibility that mentality can be characterized as a level in between the functional and the neurological, namely as a physical system exhibiting a specific kind of chaos. The argument is meant to make a case for this kind of characterization rather than giving one in specific detail.
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  38. added 2018-05-10
    The Correlation Argument for Reductionism.Christopher Clarke - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (1):76-97.
    Reductionists say things like: all mental properties are physical properties; all normative properties are natural properties. I argue that the only way to resist reductionism is to deny that causation is difference making (thus making the epistemology of causation a mystery) or to deny that properties are individuated by their causal powers (thus making properties a mystery). That is to say, unless one is happy to deny supervenience, or to trivialize the debate over reductionism. To show this, I argue that (...)
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  39. added 2018-03-31
    Deprioritizing the A Priori Arguments Against Physicalism.Richard Brown - 2010 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (3-4):47-69.
    In this paper I argue that a priori arguments fail to present any real problem for physicalism. They beg the question against physicalism in the sense that the argument will only seem compelling if one is already assuming that qualitative properties are nonphysical. To show this I will present the reverse-zombie and reverse-knowledge arguments. The only evidence against physicalism is a priori arguments, but there are also a priori arguments against dualism of exactly the same variety. Each of these parity (...)
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  40. added 2018-03-15
    Mind-Body Identity, the Property Objection and Events.Luca Malatesti - 1997 - Anthropology and Philosophy 2 (1):69-85.
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  41. added 2018-02-18
    Identity, Language, and Mind. An Introduction to the Philosophy of John Perry.Albert Newen & Raphael van Riel (eds.) - 2012 - CSLI.
  42. added 2018-02-18
    Actions and Events: Perspectives on the Philosophy of Donald Davidson.Ernest Lepore & Brian P. McLaughlin (eds.) - 1985 - Blackwell.
  43. added 2018-02-16
    Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Mind.Brian P. McLaughlin & Jonathan Cohen (eds.) - 2007 - Wiley-Blackwell.
  44. added 2018-01-19
    Conceptions of the Human Mind: Essays in Honor of George A. Miller.George A. Miller & Gilbert Harman (eds.) - 1993 - L. Erlbaum Associates.
    This volume is a direct result of a conference held at Princeton University to honor George A. Miller, an extraordinary psychologist. A distinguished panel of speakers from various disciplines -- psychology, philosophy, neuroscience and artificial intelligence -- were challenged to respond to Dr. Miller's query: "What has happened to cognition? In other words, what has the past 30 years contributed to our understanding of the mind? Do we really know anything that wasn't already clear to William James?" Each participant tried (...)
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  45. added 2017-11-14
    The Mind/Brain Identity Theory: A Critical Appraisal.Leslie Allan - manuscript
    The materialist version of the mind/brain identity theory has met with considerable challenges from philosophers of mind. The author first dispenses with a popular objection to the theory based on the law of indiscernibility of identicals. By means of discussing the vexatious problem of phenomenal qualities, he explores how the debate may be advanced by seeing each dualist and monist ontology through the lens of an evolutionary epistemology. The author suggests that by regarding each ontology as the core of a (...)
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  46. added 2017-10-02
    Neural Activation, Information, and Phenomenal Consciousness.Max Velmans - 1999 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (1):172-173.
    This is an open peer commentary on O’Brien & Opie (1999) “A connectionist theory of phenomenal experience”, published as a target article in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences. O’Brien & Opie defend a “vehicle” rather than a “process” theory of consciousness largely on the grounds that only conscious information is “explicit”. I argue that preconscious and unconscious representations can be functionally explicit (semantically well-formed and causally active). I also suggest that their analysis of how neural activation space mirrors the information (...)
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  47. added 2017-08-17
    Review of Richard E. Cytowic, *The Man Who Tasted Shapes*. [REVIEW]G. Nixon - 1999 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (1):122-123.
    The Warner Books back cover proclaims: In the tradition of Oliver Sachʼs [sic] bestselling *The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat...* The manner and misspellingsignify that Cytowic himself had nothing to do with such publishing hucksterism. However, one thing is clear upon reading this book: Richard Cytowic, M.D., is no Oliver Sacks. Though, as will be seen, there is much in here to recommend itself, his stilted reproduction of conversations which or may not have taken place and his (...)
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  48. added 2017-08-10
    Some Concerns with Polger and Shapiro’s View.Mark Couch - 2018 - Philosophical Psychology 31 (3):419-430.
    This paper provides some responses to Tom Polger and Larry Shapiro’s The Multiple Realization Book (2016). I first provide a description of the authors’ framework for thinking about multiple realization and the conditions they claim this involves. I explain what I think they get right and what they get wrong with this framework. After this, I then consider a few examples of multiple realization they discuss and the interpretations they offer. While I am sympathetic to several things they say about (...)
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  49. added 2017-07-30
    HIT and Brain Reward Function: A Case of Mistaken Identity (Theory).Cory Wright, Matteo Colombo & Alexander Beard - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 64:28–40.
    This paper employs a case study from the history of neuroscience—brain reward function—to scrutinize the inductive argument for the so-called ‘Heuristic Identity Theory’ (HIT). The case fails to support HIT, illustrating why other case studies previously thought to provide empirical support for HIT also fold under scrutiny. After distinguishing two different ways of understanding the types of identity claims presupposed by HIT and considering other conceptual problems, we conclude that HIT is not an alternative to the traditional identity theory so (...)
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  50. added 2017-05-24
    Review of The Multiple Realization Book by Thomas W. Polger & Lawrence A. Shapiro (Oxford: Oxford University Press). [REVIEW]Tuomas K. Pernu - 2017 - Metapsychology Online Reviews 21.
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