Constructival plasticity

Philosophical Studies 74 (1):51-75 (1994)
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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.

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Ronald Endicott
North Carolina State University

References found in this work

Mental Causation.Stephen Yablo - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101 (2):245-280.
Concepts of Supervenience.Jaegwon Kim - 1984 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 45 (December):153-76.
精神状态的性质.Hilary Putnam - 1967 - In W. H. Capitan & D. D. Merrill (eds.), 艺术、思想和宗教. Pittsburgh University Press. pp. 1--223.
What Psychological States Are Not.Ned Block & Jerry A. Fodor - 1972 - Philosophical Review 81 (April):159-81.

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