Resolving arguments by different conceptual traditions of realization

Philosophical Studies 159 (1):41-59 (2012)
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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.


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Ronald Endicott
North Carolina State University

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References found in this work

Troubles with functionalism.Ned Block - 1978 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 9:261-325.
Functional analysis.Robert E. Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.

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