Positing levels of explanation has played an important role in philosophy of science. This facilitated the advocacy of antireductionism of explanations, which, at its most basic, is the idea that scientific explanations citing large (i.e. non-microphysical) entities will persist. The idea that explanations come in levels captures important features of explanatory practices, and it also does well at helping to define different positions one might take regarding explanatory reductionism or antireductionism. Yet the idea that explanations come in levels has also (...) led philosophers astray. This systematically misconstrues the relationship different explanations bear to one another, suggests candidate explanations are less numerous than they in fact are, and occludes recognition of how the selection of explanations can vary across research projects. Antireductionists about explanation should move on from talk of levels. Or so I will argue. (shrink)
I first discuss Kit Fine's distinctive 'schema-based' approach to metaphysical theorizing, which aims to identify general principles accommodating any intelligible application of the notion(s), by attention to his accounts of essence and dependence. I then raise some specific concerns about the general principles Fine takes to schematically characterize these notions. In particular, I present various counterexamples to Fine's essence-based account of ontological dependence. The problem, roughly speaking, is that Fine supposes that an object's essence makes reference to just what it (...) ontologically depends on, but various cases suggest that an object's essence can also make reference to what ontologically depends on it. As such, Fine's account of ontological dependence is subject to the same objection he raises against modal accounts of essence and dependence---that is, of being insufficiently ecumenical. (shrink)
Morris’s book is a valuable contribution. For the reasons below, I don’t think his case against NRP succeeds, and his version of EP faces a serious difficulty. Even so, this is an admirably clear, subtle, and well-informed brief, and philosophers interested in the structure of natural reality have much to gain from Morris’s insightful discussion and argumentation.
“Realization” and “emergence” are two concepts that are sometimes used to describe same or similar phenomena in philosophy of mind and the special sciences, where such phenomena involve the synchronic dependence of some higher-level states of affairs on the lower-level ones. According to a popular line of thought, higher-level properties that are invoked in the special sciences are realized by, and/or emergent from, lower-level, broadly physical, properties. So, these two concepts are taken to refer to relations between properties from different (...) levels where the lower-level ones somehow “bring about” the higher-level ones. However, for those who specialise in inter-level relations, there are important differences between these two concepts – especially if emergence is understood as strong emergence. The purpose of this chapter is to highlight these differences. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that the newly developed network approach in neuroscience and biology provides a basis for formulating a unique type of realization, which I call topological realization. Some of its features and its relation to one of the dominant paradigms of realization and explanation in sciences, i.e. the mechanistic one, are already being discussed in the literature. But the detailed features of topological realization, its explanatory power and its relation to another prominent view of realization, namely the (...) semantic one, have not yet been discussed. I argue that topological realization is distinct from mechanistic and semantic ones because the realization base in this framework is not based on local realisers, regardless of the scale but on global realizers. In mechanistic approach, the realization base is always at the local level, in both ontic and epistemic accounts. The explanatory power of realization relation in mechanistic approach comes directly from the realization relation-either by showing how a model is mapped onto a mechanism, or by describing some ontic relations that are explanatory in themselves. Similarly, the semantic approach requires that concepts at different scales logically satisfy microphysical descriptions, which are at the local level. In topological framework the realization base can be found at different scales, but whatever the scale the realization base is global, within that scale, and not local. Furthermore, topological realization enables us to answer the “why” questions, which according to Polger 2010 make it explanatory. The explanatoriness of topological realization stems from understanding mathematical consequences of different topologies, not from the mere fact that a system realizes them. (shrink)
In earlier work, I proposed and defended a formulation of physicalism that was distinctive in appealing to a carefully-defined relation of physical realization. Various philosophers (Robert Francescotti, Daniel Stoljar, Carl Gillett, and Susan Schneider) have since presented challenges to this formulation. In the present paper, I aim to show that these challenges can be overcome.
This article argues that standard causal and functionalist definitions of realization fail to account for the realization of entities that cannot be individuated in causal or functional terms. By modifying such definitions to require that realizers also logically suffice for any historical properties of the entities they realize, one can provide for the realization of entities whose resistance to causal/functional individuation stems from their possession of individuative historical properties. But if qualia cannot be causally or functionally individuated, then qualia can (...) be physically realized only if the thesis that all things are physical or physically realized is insufficient for physicalism. (shrink)
Abstract: Non-reductive physicalism is commonly understood as the view that mental properties are realized by physical properties. Here, I argue that the realization relation in question is a power inheritance relation: if a property P realizes a property Q, then the causal powers of Q are a subset of the causal powers of P. Whereas others have motivated this claim by appealing to its theoretical benefits, I argue that it is in fact entailed by two theses: (i) realization is a (...) same-subject necessitation relation; (ii) properties have their causal powers derivatively on the causal powers of their bearers. Although the power inheritance claim that is defended here has many opponents, I take it that the two theses that entail it are either plausible or widely assumed. (shrink)
Grounding is all the rage in analytical metaphysics. But here I give three reasons for not appealing to a primitive relation of grounding in formulating physicalism. (1) It probably can't do the key job it would need to do. (2) We don't need it, since we already have realization. (3) It is probably not even consistent with physicalism.
Grounding, understood as a primitive posit operative in contexts where metaphysical dependence is at issue, is not able on its own to do any substantive work in characterizing or illuminating metaphysical dependence---or so I argue in 'No Work for a Theory of Grounding' (Inquiry, 2014). Such illumination rather requires appeal to specific metaphysical relations---type or token identity, functional realization, the determinable-determinate relation, the mereological part-whole relation, and so on---of the sort typically at issue in these contexts. In that case, why (...) posit 'big-G' Grounding in addition to the 'small-g' grounding relations already in the metaphysician's toolkit? The best reasons for doing so stem from the Unity argument, according to which the further posit of Grounding is motivated as an apt unifier of the specific relations, and the Priority argument, according to which Grounding is needed in order to fix the direction of priority of the specific relations. I previously considered versions of these arguments, and argued that they did not succeed; in two papers, however, Jonathan Schaffer aims to develop a better version of the Unity argument, and offers certain objections to my reasons for rejecting the Priority argument. Here I consider these new arguments for Grounding. (shrink)
Are the special sciences autonomous from physics? Those who say they are need to explain how dependent special science properties could feature in irreducible causal explanations, but that’s no easy task. The demands of a broadly physicalist worldview require that such properties are not only dependent on the physical, but also physically realized. Realized properties are derivative, so it’s natural to suppose that they have derivative causal powers. Correspondingly, philosophical orthodoxy has it that if we want special science properties to (...) bestow genuinely new causal powers, we must reject physical realization and embrace a form of emergentism, in which such properties arise from the physical by mysterious brute determination. In this paper, I argue that contrary to this orthodoxy, there are physically realized properties that bestow new causal powers in relation to their realizers. The key to my proposal is to reject causal-functional accounts of realization and embrace a broader account that allows for the realization of shapes and patterns. Unlike functional properties, such properties are defined by qualitative, non-causal specifications, so realizing them does not consist in bestowing causal powers. This, I argue, allows for causal novelty of the strongest kind. I argue that the molecular geometry of H2O—a qualitative, multiply realizable property—plays an irreducible role in explaining its dipole moment, and thereby bestows novel powers. On my proposal, special science properties can have the kind of causal novelty traditionally associated with strong emergence, without any of the mystery. (shrink)
Jaegwon Kim’s argument against non-reductive physicalism is well known. Many philosophers take Kim’s argument to also apply to emergentism. But this does not necessarily follow. In this paper, I will first briefly show why Kim’s argument against non-reductive physicalism need not apply to emergentism. Next, I will present a physicalistic account of emergentism offered by Jason Megill in his paper “A Defense of Emergence.” This will be followed by an examination of some of the limitations of Megill’s account, in particular, (...) his failure to adequately account for the causal powers of higher level physical properties independent of realization. Finally, I will offer a suggestion on how Megill might avoid the difficulties raised by appealing to the concept of wide realization espoused by Robert Wilson in his paper “Two Views of Realization.” The overarching theme of the paper centers on the idea that the realization requirement is where the action is, in terms of making emergentism compatible with physicalism, and is capable of being tinkered with by the emergentist and physicalist alike. (shrink)
Derk Pereboom has recently elaborated a formulation of non-reductive physicalism in which supervenience does not play the central role and realization plays no role at all; he calls his formulation “robust non-reductive physicalism”. This paper argues that for several reasons robust non-reductive physicalism is inadequate as a formulation of physicalism: it can only rule out fundamental laws of physical-to-mental emergence by stipulating that there are no such laws; it fails to entail the supervenience of the mental on the physical; it (...) appeals to two relations that are physicalistically unacceptable; and it rules out certain epistemically possible ways that the world might turn out to be according to current physics. This paper further argues that the difficulties faced by Pereboom’s robust non-reductive physicalism can all be avoided if physicalism is instead formulated by appeal to a carefully-defined relation of realization. (shrink)
In this book, Derk Pereboom explores how physicalism might best be formulated and defended against the best anti-physicalist arguments. Two responses to the knowledge and conceivability arguments are set out and developed. The first exploits the open possibility that introspective representations fail to represent mental properties as they are in themselves; specifically, that introspection represents phenomenal properties as having certain characteristic qualitative natures, which these properties might actually lack. The second response draws on the proposal that currently unknown fundamental intrinsic (...) properties provide categorical bases for known physical properties and would also yield an account of consciousness. While there are non-physicalist versions of this position, some are amenable to physicalism. The book's third theme is a defense of a nonreductive account of physicalism. The type of nonreductivism endorsed departs from others in that it rejects all token identity claims for psychological and microphysical entities. The deepest relation between the mental and the microphysical is constitution, where this relation is not to be explicated by the notion of identity. (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)
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, 201).
My topic is the confluence of two recently active philosophical research programs. One research program concerns the metaphysics of realization. The other research program concerns scientific explanation in terms of mechanisms. In this paper I introduce a distinction between descriptive and explanatory approaches to realization. I then use this distinction to argue that a well-known account of realization, due to Carl Gillett, is incompatible with a well-known account of mechanistic explanation, due to Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden, and Carl Craver (MDC, (...) Philos Sci 57: 1-25, 2000). This is surprising, not least of which because Gillett has cited MDC's work as evidence that his account of realization is the right way to think about realization in the sciences. (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?
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 1This paper resulted from work done at John Heil's 2006 Mind and Metaphysics NEH Summer Seminar at Washington University in St. Louis. An early version of it was presented in a special symposium on realization at the 2007 meeting of the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology. I owe thanks to all the participants in both events for helpful discussions, and I owe particular thanks to Ken Aizawa, Torin Alter, Jason Ford, Carl Gillett, John Heil, Nicholas Helms, Pete Mandik, John Post, Gene Witmer, Michelle Wrenn, Tad Zawidzki, and two anonymous referees for the AJP. (shrink)
Carl Gillett has defended what he calls the “dimensioned” view of the realization relation, which he contrasts with the traditional “flat” view of realization (2003, 2007; see also Gillett 2002). Intuitively, the dimensioned approach characterizes realization in terms of composition whereas the flat approach views realization in terms of occupiers of functional roles. Elsewhere we have argued that the general view of realization and multiple realization that Gillett advances is not able to discharge the theoretical duties of those relations (Shapiro (...) 2004, unpublished manuscript; Polger 2004, 2007, forthcoming). Here we focus on an internal objection to Gillett’s account and then raise some broader reasons to reject it. (shrink)
Mental causation, our mind's ability to causally affect the course of the world, is part and parcel of our ‘manifest image’ of the world. That there is mental causation is denied by virtually no one. How there can be such a thing as mental causation, however, is far from obvious. In recent years, discussions about the problem of mental causation have focused on Jaegwon Kim's so-called Causal Exclusion Argument, according to which mental events are ‘screened off’ or ‘preempted’ by physical (...) events unless mental causation is a genuine case of overdetermination or mental properties are straightforwardly reducible to physical properties. (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)
In the first part of this paper I argue that epiphenomenalism does not pose a threat to nonreductive physicalism, if type-epiphenomenalism does not imply the redundancy of mental (or in general higher-level) typing of events and/or states. Furthermore, if justifiable induction over folk-psychological regularities is possible independently of the ways in which these regularities are realized, type-epiphenomenalism does not imply the redundancy ofmental typing. Inthe second part of this paper I explain how justifiable 'cross-realization induction' can be possible. This explanation (...) does what none of the currently available ones can: combine the generally accepted ideas that (i) folk-psychology is a successful means of predicting, explaining, and understanding human behaviour and (ii) that mental states are multiply realized. Given these two steps, it is relatively safe to say that there is no epiphe-nomenalism-threat to nonreductive physicalism. (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)
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: 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'; it helps to understand how well, if at all, some appeals to realization in the literature can discharge the jobs mentioned; 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: 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"; ayuda a comprender hasta que punto la realizacion que se invoca en algunos textos filosoficos puede desempeñar correctamente las tareas mencionadas; mas en general, aclara qué puede hacer la realización. (shrink)
In this wide-ranging study, Levine explores both sides of the mind-body dilemma, presenting the first book-length treatment of his highly influential ideas on the How does one explain the physical nature of an experience? This puzzle, the "explanatory gap" between mind and body, is the focus of this work by an influential scholar in the field.
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)
Some scientists and philosophers claimed that there is a converse to multiple realizability. While a given higher-level property can be realized by different lower-level properties (multiple realizability), a given lower-level property can in turn serve to realize different higher-level properties (this converse I dubbed the unfortunately obscure "constructival plasticity" to emphasize the constructive metaphysics involved in this converse to multiple realizability). I began by defining multiple realizabilty in a formal way. (Looking back, one point of interest is that I defined (...) modally weak and strong versions of realization, which is relevant to later views about contingent versus necessitarian grounding.) I then turned to the relation in question. By my analysis, for the converse claim to be true, a lower-level property G1 that realizes a higher-level F must be taken in conjunction with some other base condition G2 so that a difference in G2 allows G1 to determine some other higher-level property E but not F (otherwise there would be violations of supervenience). The realization law thus has the form: (G1 & G2) => F. As such, the base property G1 is insufficient by itself to produce F. It is an insufficient but necessary part of a sufficient condition. I also point out that this makes the realization base property an INUS condition, if combined with multiple realizability. Specifically, if F is multiply realized by properties other than the pair G1 and G2, then G1 is an insufficient but necessary part of an unnecessary but sufficient condition. This is just the first clear and explicit INUS condition view of realization in the literature. Looking back, this converse is also relevant to later views, such as Robert Wilson's view about metaphysically contextual realization. (shrink)
During the 'sixties and 'seventies, Hilary Putnam, Jerry Fodor, and Richard Boyd, among others, developed a type of materialism that eschews reductionist claims.1 In this view, explana- tions, natural kinds, and properties in psychology do not reduce to counterparts in more basic sciences, such as neurophysiology or physics. Nevertheless, all token psychological entities-- states, processes, and faculties--are wholly constituted of physical entities, ultimately out of entities over which microphysics quantifies. This view quickly became the standard position in philosophy of mind, (...) and reductionism fell out of favor. Recently, however, reductionism has been experiencing a rebirth, and many have suggested that the non-reductive approach was accepted too quickly and too uncritically. In this paper, we attempt to provide a more thorough account of the anti-reductionist position, and, in the process, to defend it against its recent critics. (shrink)