The Multiple Realization Book

Oxford University Press UK (2016)
Authors
Lawrence Shapiro
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Abstract
Since Hilary Putnam offered multiple realization as an empirical hypothesis in the 1960s, philosophical consensus has turned against the idea that mental processes are identifiable with brain processes, and multiple realization has become the keystone of the 'antireductive consensus' across philosophy of science. Thomas W. Polger and Lawrence A. Shapiro offer the first book-length investigation of multiple realization, which serves as a starting point to a series of philosophically sophisticated and empirically informed arguments that cast doubt on the generality of multiple realization in the cognitive sciences. They argue that mind-brain identities have played an important role in the growth and achievements of the cognitive sciences, and suggest that there is little prospect for multiple realization in an empirically-based theory of mind. This leads Polger and Shapiro to offer an alternative framework for understanding explanations in the cognitive sciences, as well as in chemistry, biology, and other non-basic sciences.
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