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  1. Multiple Realization in Systems Biology.Wei Fang - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    Polger and Shapiro claim that unlike human-made artifacts cases of multiple realization in naturally occurring systems are uncommon. Drawing on cases from systems biology, I argue that multiple realization in naturally occurring systems is not as uncommon as Polger and Shapiro initially thought. The relevant cases, which I draw from systems biology, involve generalizable design principles called network motifs which recur in different organisms and species and perform specific functions. I show that network motifs with entirely different underlying causal structures (...)
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  • The Functional Unity of Special Science Kinds.D. A. Weiskopf - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (2):233-258.
    The view that special science properties are multiply realizable has been attacked in recent years by Shapiro, Bechtel and Mundale, Polger, and others. Focusing on psychological and neuroscientific properties, I argue that these attacks are unsuccessful. By drawing on interspecies physiological comparisons I show that diverse physical mechanisms can converge on common functional properties at multiple levels. This is illustrated with examples from the psychophysics and neuroscience of early vision. This convergence is compatible with the existence of general constraints on (...)
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  • Fodor on Multiple Realizability and Nonreductive Physicalism: Why the Argument Does Not Work.José Luis Bermúdez & Arnon Cahen - forthcoming - Theoria. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science.
    This paper assesses Fodor’s well-known argument from multiple realizability to nonreductive physicalism. Recent work has brought out that the empirical case for cross-species multiple realizability is weak at best and so we consider whether the argument can be rebooted using a “thin” notion of intra-species multiple realizability, taking individual neural firing patterns to be the realizers of mental events. We agree that there are no prospects for reducing mental events to individual neural firing patterns. But there are more plausible candidates (...)
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  • Causal Exclusion and Downward Counterfactuals.Tuomas K. Pernu - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (5):1031-1049.
    One of the main line of responses to the infamous causal exclusion problem has been based on the counterfactual account of causation. However, arguments have begun to surface to the effect that the counterfactual theory is in fact ill-equipped to solve the exclusion problem due to its commitment to downward causation. This argumentation is here critically analysed. An analysis of counterfactual dependence is presented and it is shown that if the semantics of counterfactuals is taken into account carefully enough, the (...)
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  • Philosophie der Neurowissenschaften.Holger Lyre - 2017 - In Simon Lohse & Thomas A. C. Reydon (eds.), Grundriss Wissenschaftsphilosophie: Die Philosophien der Einzelwissenschaften. Meiner.
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  • Realization and Multiple Realization, Chicken and Egg.Thomas W. Polger - 2013 - European Journal of Philosophy 23 (4):862-877.
    A common view is that the truth of multiple realization—e.g., about psychological states—entails the truth of functionalism. This is supposed to follow because what is multiply realized is eo ipso realized. I argue that view is mistaken by demonstrating how it misrepresents arguments from multiple realization. In particular, it undermines the empirical component of the arguments, and renders the multiplicity of the realization irrelevant. I suggest an alternative reading of multiple realizability arguments, particularly in philosophy of psychology. And I explain (...)
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  • Where Do You Get Your Protein? Or: Biochemical Realization.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Biochemical kinds such as proteins pose interesting problems for philosophers of science, as they can be studied from the points of view of both biology and chemistry. The relationship between the biological functions of biochemical kinds and the microstructures that they are related to is the key question. This leads us to a more general discussion about ontological reductionism, microstructuralism, and multiple realization at the biology-chemistry interface. On the face of it, biochemical kinds seem to pose a challenge for ontological (...)
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  • Mechanism or Bust? Explanation in Psychology.Lawrence A. Shapiro - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (4):1037-1059.
    ABSTRACT Proponents of mechanistic explanation have recently suggested that all explanation in the cognitive sciences is mechanistic, even functional explanation. This last claim is surprising, for functional explanation has traditionally been conceived as autonomous from the structural details that mechanistic explanations emphasize. I argue that functional explanation remains autonomous from mechanistic explanation, but not for reasons commonly associated with the phenomenon of multiple realizability. 1Introduction 2Mechanistic Explanation: A Quick Primer 3Functional Explanation: An Example 4Autonomy as Lack of Constraint 5The Price (...)
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  • How Beliefs Are Like Colors.Devin Sanchez Curry - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania
    Teresa believes in God. Maggie’s wife believes that the Earth is flat, and also that Maggie should be home from work by now. Anouk—a cat—believes it is dinner time. This dissertation is about what believing is: it concerns what, exactly, ordinary people are attributing to Teresa, Maggie’s wife, and Anouk when affirming that they are believers. Part I distinguishes the attitudes of belief that people attribute to each other (and other animals) in ordinary life from the cognitive states of belief (...)
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  • What’s on Your Mind? A Brain Scan Won’T Tell.Yakir Levin & Itzhak Aharon - 2011 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (4):699-722.
    Reverse Inference ( RI ) is an imaging-based type of inference from brain states to mental states, which has become highly widespread in neuroscience, most especially in neuroeconomics. Recent critical studies of RI may be taken to show that, if cautiously used, RI can help achieve research goals that may be difficult to achieve by way of behavior-based procedures alone. But can RI exceed the limits of these procedures and achieve research goals that are impossible for them to achieve alone? (...)
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  • Natural Selection and Multiple Realisation: A Closer Look.Björn Brunnander - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (1):73 - 83.
    The target of this article is the claim that natural selection accounts for the multiple realisation of biological and psychological kinds. I argue that the explanation actually offered does not provide any insight about the phenomenon since it presupposes multiple realisation as an unexplained premise, and this is what does all the work. The purported explanation mistakenly invokes the ?indifference? of selection to structure as an additional explanatorily relevant factor. While such indifference can be explanatory in intentional contexts, it is (...)
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  • Mental Manipulations and the Problem of Causal Exclusion.Lawrence A. Shapiro - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):507 - 524.
    Christian List and Peter Menzies 2009 have looked to interventionist theories of causation for an answer to Jaegwon Kim's causal exclusion problem. Important to their response is the idea of realization-insensitivity. However, this idea becomes mired in issues concerning multiple realization, leaving it unable to fulfil its promise to block exclusion. After explaining why realization-insensitivity fails as a solution to Kim's problem, I look to interventionism to describe a different kind of solution.
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  • Introductory Essay: Metaphysics and Science: A Fickle Relationship.Raoul Gervais - 2015 - Philosophica 90.
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  • Are Sensations Still Brain Processes?Thomas W. Polger - 2011 - Philosophical Psychology 24 (1):1-21.
    Fifty years ago J. J. C. Smart published his pioneering paper, “Sensations and Brain Processes.” It is appropriate to mark the golden anniversary of Smart’s publication by considering how well his article has stood up, and how well the identity theory itself has fared. In this paper I first revisit Smart’s text, reflecting on how it has weathered the years. Then I consider the status of the identity theory in current philosophical thinking, taking into account the objections and replies that (...)
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  • Flat Versus Dimensioned: The What and the How of Functional Realization.Ronald P. Endicott - 2011 - Journal of Philosophical Research 36:191-208.
    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 (...)
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  • Computation and Multiple Realizability.Marcin Miłkowski - 2016 - In Vincent Müller (ed.), Fundamental Issues of Artificial Intelligence. Springer. pp. 29-41.
    Multiple realizability (MR) is traditionally conceived of as the feature of computational systems, and has been used to argue for irreducibility of higher-level theories. I will show that there are several ways a computational system may be seen to display MR. These ways correspond to (at least) five ways one can conceive of the function of the physical computational system. However, they do not match common intuitions about MR. I show that MR is deeply interest-related, and for this reason, difficult (...)
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  • Multiple Realization and Multiple “Ways” of Realization: A Progress Report.Kenneth Aizawa - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 68:3-9.
    One might have thought that if something has two or more distinct realizations, then that thing is multiply realized. Nevertheless, some philosophers have claimed that two or more distinct realizations do not amount to multiple realization, unless those distinct realizations amount to multiple “ways” of realizing the thing. Corey Maley, Gualtiero Piccinini, Thomas Polger, and Lawrence Shapiro are among these philosophers. Unfortunately, they do not explain why multiple realization requires multiple “ways” of realizing. More significantly, their efforts to articulate multiple (...)
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  • Mechanism or Bust? Explanation in Psychology.Lawrence A. Shapiro - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv062.
  • Of Brains and Planets: On a Causal Criterion for Mind-Brain Identities.Vera Hoffmann-Kolss - 2016 - Synthese 193 (4):1177-1189.
    Whether mental properties are identical with neural properties is one of the central questions of contemporary philosophy of mind. Many philosophers agree that even if mental properties are identical with neural properties, the mind-brain identity thesis cannot be established on empirical grounds, but only be vindicated by theoretical philosophical considerations. In his paper ‘When Is a Brain Like the Planet?’, Clark Glymour proposes a causal criterion for local property identifications and claims that this criterion can be used to empirically establish (...)
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  • Reduction Redux.Lawrence Shapiro - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 68:10-19.
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  • Multiple Realizability, Constraints, and Identity.Mark Bauer - 2013 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 (4):446-464.
    Shapiro has suggested that the empirical plausibility of the multiple realizability of human-like minds is dubious, because a contrary thesis, the Mental Constraint Thesis, enjoys positive empirical evidence. The Mental Constraint Thesis states that, given the actual physical laws, there is only one way to realize a human-like mind. I will suggest, however, that the Mental Constraint Thesis is not a contrary to the empirical multiple realizability thesis relevant to psychological reduction or autonomy and, as a consequence, has no bearing (...)
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  • Multiple Realization and the Commensurability of Taxonomies.John Zerilli - 2016 - Synthese:1-17.
    The past two decades have witnessed a revival of interest in multiple realization and multiply realized kinds. Bechtel and Mundale’s :175–207, 1999) illuminating discussion of the subject must no doubt be credited with having generated much of this renewed interest. Among other virtues, their paper expresses what seems to be an important insight about multiple realization: that unless we keep a consistent grain across realized and realizing kinds, claims alleging the multiple realization of psychological kinds are vulnerable to refutation. In (...)
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  • Multiple Realization by Compensatory Differences.Kenneth Aizawa - 2013 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (1):69-86.
    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 (...)
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  • Multiple Realization and Evidence.Sungsu Kim - 2011 - Philosophical Psychology 24 (6):739 - 749.
    The ?Dimensioned? view analyzes (multiple) realization in terms of compositional relation, and the ?Flat? view analyzes (multiple) realization in terms of causal-functional mechanism. The two different analyses of realization lead to the disagreement about whether realization is transitive. The two views, perhaps not surprisingly, have different consequences on testing for multiple realization, and prescribe different ?reconstructions? for the evidential significance of observation for multiple realization. I examine the differences between the two views on testing for multiple realization within a model-selection (...)
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  • The Case for Multiple Realization in Biology.Wei Fang - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):3.
    Polger and Shapiro argue that their official recipe, a criterion for judging when the phenomenon of multiple realization exists, renders MR less widespread than its proponents have assumed. I argue that, although Polger and Shapiro’s criterion is a useful contribution, they arrive at their conclusion too hastily. Contrary to Polger and Shapiro, I claim that the phenomenon of multiple realization in the biological world, judged by their criterion, is not as scarce as they suggest. To show this, an updated official (...)
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  • Multiple Realizability as a Design Heuristic in Biological Engineering.Rami Koskinen - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):15.
    Recently, several critics of the multiple realizability thesis have argued that philosophers have tended to accept the thesis on too weak grounds. On the one hand, the analytic challenge has problematized how philosophers have treated the multiple realization relation itself, claiming that assessment of the sameness of function and the relevant difference of realizers has been uncritical. On the other hand, it is argued that the purported evidence of the thesis is often left empirically unverified. This paper provides a novel (...)
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  • How to Theorize About Multiple Realization.David Barrett - 2018 - Metaphilosophy 49 (5):674-690.
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  • Identity Theories.Thomas W. Polger - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (5):822-834.
    Identity theories are those that hold that 'sensations are brain processes'. In particular, they hold that mental/psychological state kinds are identical to brain/neuroscientific state kinds. In this paper, I isolate and explain some of the key features of contemporary identity theories. They are then contrasted with the main live alternatives by means of considering the two most important lines of objection to identity theories.
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  • Moving Beyond the Subset Model of Realization: The Problem of Qualitative Distinctness in the Metaphysics of Science.Carl Gillett - 2010 - Synthese 177 (2):165 - 192.
    Understanding the 'making-up' relations, to put things neutrally, posited in mechanistic explanations the sciences is finally an explicit topic of debate amongst philosophers of science. In particular, there is now lively debate over the nature of the so-called 'realization' relations between properties posited in such explanations. Despite criticism (Gillett, Analysis 62: 316-323, 2002a), the most common approach continues to be that of applying machinery developed in the philosophy of mind to scientific concepts in what is known as the 'Flat' or (...)
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  • Causal Exclusion and Multiple Realizations.Tuomas K. Pernu - 2014 - Topoi 33 (2):525-530.
    A critical analysis of recent interventionist responses to the causal exclusion problem is presented. It is argued that the response can indeed offer a solution to the problem, but one that is based on renouncing the multiple realizability thesis. The account amounts to the rejection of nonreductive physicalism and would thus be unacceptable to many. It is further shown that if the multiple realizability thesis is brought back in and conjoined with the interventionist notion of causation, inter-level causation is ruled (...)
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