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 reductionism and hence motivate a dual theory of chemical and biological kinds, a type of pluralism about natural kinds. But it will be argued that the challenge, which is based on multiple realization, can be addressed. The upshot is that there are reasonable prospects for ontological reductionism about biochemical kinds, which corroborates natural kind monism. (shrink)
Opponents to consciousness in fish argue that fish do not feel pain because they do not have a neocortex, which is a necessary condition for feeling pain. A common counter-argument appeals to the multiple realizability of pain: while a neocortex might be necessary for feeling pain in humans, pain might be realized differently in fish. This paper argues, first, that it is impossible to find a criterion allowing us to demarcate between plausible and implausible cases of multiple realization of (...) pain without running into a circular argument. Second, opponents to consciousness in fish cannot be provided with reasons to believe in the multiple realizability of pain. I conclude that the debate on the existence of pain in fish is impossible to settle by relying on the multiple realization argument. (shrink)
I argue that an adequate account of non-reductive realization must guarantee satisfaction of a certain condition on the token causal powers associated with (instances of) realized and realizing entities---namely, what I call the 'Subset Condition on Causal Powers' (first introduced in Wilson 1999). In terms of states, the condition requires that the token powers had by a realized state on a given occasion be a proper subset of the token powers had by the state that realizes it on that (...) occasion. Accounts of non-reductive realization conforming to this condition are implementing what I call 'the powers-based subset strategy'. I focus on the crucial case involving mental and brain states; the results may be generalized, as appropriate. I ﬁrst situate and motivate the strategy by attention to the problem of mental causation; I make the case, in schematic terms, that implementation of the strategy makes room (contra Kim 1989, 1993, 1998, and elsewhere) for mental states to be ontologically and causally autonomous from their realizing physical states, without inducing problematic causal overdetermination, and compatible with both Physicalism and Non-reduction; and I show that several contemporary accounts of non-reductive realization (in terms of functional realization, parthood, and the determinable/determinate relation) are plausibly seen as implementing the strategy. As I also show, implementation of the powers-based strategy does not require endorsement of any particular accounts of either properties or causation---indeed, a categoricalist contingentist Humean can implement the strategy. The schematic location of the strategy in the space of available responses to the problem of mental (more generally, higher-level) causation, as well as the fact that the schema may be metaphysically instantiated, strongly suggests that the strategy is, appropriately generalized and instantiated, sufficient and moreover necessary for non-reductive realization. I go on to defend the sufficiency and necessity claims against a variety of objections, considering, along the way, how the powers-based subset strategy fares against competing accounts of purportedly non-reductive realization in terms of supervenience, token identity, and constitution. (shrink)
This paper considers the foundation of self-realization and the sense of morality that could justify Arne Naess’s claim ‘Self-realization is morally neutral,’ by focusing on the recent debate among deep ecologists. Self-realization, the ultimate norm of Naess’s ecosophy T, is the realization of the maxim ‘everything is interrelated.’ This norm seems to be based on two basic principles: the diminishing of narrow ego, and the integrity between the human and non-human worlds. The paper argues that the (...) former is an extension of Plato’s idea of self-development or self-mastery while the latter is implicit in Aristotle’s holism. It defends that Self-realization is morally neutral only if the term ‘moral’ is considered in the Kantian sense. However, Naess reluctantly distinguishes between ethics and morality, which makes his approach less credible. The paper concludes that Aristotle’s notion of eudaimonia supports Self-realization to qualify as a virtue. (shrink)
“Realization” is a technical term that is used by metaphysicians, philosophers of mind, and philosophers of science to denote some dependence relation that is thought to obtain between higher-level properties and lower-level properties. It is said that mental properties are realized by physical properties; functional and computational properties are realized by first-order properties that occupy certain causal/functional roles; dispositional properties are realized by categorical properties; so on and so forth. Given this wide usage of the term “realization”, it (...) would be right to think that there might be different dependence relations that this term denotes in different cases. Any relation that is aptly picked out by this term can be taken to be a realization relation. The aim of this state-of-the-field article is to introduce the central questions about the concept of realization, and provide formulations of a number of realization relations. In doing so, I identify some theoretical roles realization relations should play, and discuss some theories of realization in relation to these theoretical roles. (shrink)
How can mental properties bring about physical effects, as they seem to do, given that the physical realizers of the mental goings-on are already sufficient to cause these effects? This question gives rise to the problem of mental causation (MC) and its associated threats of causal overdetermination, mental causal exclusion, and mental causal irrelevance. Some (e.g., Cynthia and Graham Macdonald, and Stephen Yablo) have suggested that understanding mental-physical realization in terms of the determinable/determinate relation (henceforth, 'determination') provides the key (...) to solving the problem of MC: if mental properties are determinables of their physical realizers, then (since determinables and determinates are distinct, yet don't causally compete) all three threats may be avoided. Not everyone agrees that determination can do this good work, however. Some (e.g., Douglas Ehring, Eric Funkhauser, and Sven Walter) object that mental-physical realization can't be determination, since such realization lacks one or other characteristic feature of determination. I argue that on a proper understanding of the features of determination key to solving the problem of MC these arguments can be resisted. (shrink)
A common conception of what it is for one property to “realize” another suggests that it is the realizer property that does the causal work, and that the realized property is epiphenomenal. The same conception underlies George Bealer’s argument that functionalism leads to the absurd conclusion that what we take to be self-ascriptions of a mental state are really self-ascriptions of “first-order” properties that realize that state. This paper argues for a different concept of realization. A property realizes another (...) if its “forward looking” causal features are a subset of those of the property realized. The instantiation of the realizer property will include the instantiation of the property realized; and when the effects produced are due to the causal features of the latter, it is the instantiation of it that is appropriately regarded as their cause. Epiphenomenalism is avoided, and so is Bealer’s absurd conclusion. (shrink)
Abstract: There has recently been controversy over the existence of 'multiple realization' in addition to some confusion between different conceptions of its nature. To resolve these problems, we focus on concrete examples from the sciences to provide precise accounts of the scientific concepts of 'realization' and 'multiple realization' that have played key roles in recent debates in the philosophy of science and philosophy of psychology. We illustrate the advantages of our view over a prominent rival account ( (...) Shapiro, 2000 and 2004 ) and use our work to rebut recent objections to the long-standing claim that psychological properties are multiply realized. For we use scientific evidence, in combination with our more precise theoretical framework, to show that we have strong reason to believe that psychological properties are indeed multiply realized both at the biochemical and neuronal levels. (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)
“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)
Consider what the brain-state theorist has to do to make good his claims. He has to specify a physical–chemical state such that any organism (not just a mammal) is in pain if and only if (a) it possesses a brain of suitable physical–chemical structure; and (b) its brain is in that physical–chemical state. This means that the physical–chemical state in question must be a possible state of a mammalian brain, a reptilian brain, a mollusc’s brain (octopuses are mollusca, and certainly (...) feel pain), etc. At the same time, it must not be a possible (physically possible) state of the brain of any physically possible creature that cannot feel pain. Even if such a state can be found, it must be nomologically certain that it will also be a state of the brain of any extraterrestrial life that may be found that will be capable of feeling pain before we can even entertain the supposition that it may be pain. It is not altogether impossible that such a state will be found... . But this is certainly an ambitious hypothesis. (Putnam 1967/1975, p. 436) The belief that mental states are multiply realized is now nearly universal among philosophers, as is the belief that this fact decisively refutes the identity theory. I argue that the empirical support for multiple realization does not justify the confidence that has been placed in it. In order for multiple realization of mental states to be an objection to the identity theory, the neurological differences among pains, for example, must be such as to guarantee that they are of distinct neurological kinds. But the phenomena traditionally cited do not provide evidence of that sort of variation. In particular, examples of neural plasticity do not provide such evidence. (shrink)
This paper examines the standard view of realization operative incontemporary philosophy of mind, and proposes an alternative, generalperspective on realization. The standard view can be expressed, insummary form, as the conjunction of two theses, the sufficiency thesis andthe constitutivity thesis. Physicalists of both reductionist and anti-reductionist persuasions share a conception of realization wherebyrealizations are determinative of the properties they realize and physically constitutive of the individuals with those properties. Centralto the alternative view that I explore here is (...) the idea that the requisite,metaphysically robust notion of realization is ineliminably context-sensitive. I shall argue that the sufficiency and constitutivity theses aretypically not jointly satisfied by any one candidate realizer, and that goingcontext-sensitive in one's metaphysics is preferable to the standard view.The context-sensitive views developed here are implicit in a range ofcommon views in both the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of biology,even if they have not been explicitly articulated, and even though theyundermine other views that are commonly endorsed. (shrink)
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)
Let thin properties be properties shared by coincident entities, e.g., a person and her body, and thick properties ones that are not shared. Thick properties entail sortal properties, e.g., being a person, and the associated persistence conditions. On the first account of realization defined here, the realized property and its realizers will belong to the same individual. This restricts the physical realizers of mental properties, which are thick, to thick physical properties. We also need a sense in which mental (...) properties can be realized in thin physical properties shared by a person and her body. Defining this in turn requires defining a sense in which the instantiations of sortal properties and of thick properties are realized in micro-structural states of affairs. A fourth notion of realization is needed to allow for the possibility of coincident entities that share a sortal property, e.g., coincident persons. (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)
Biologists seems to hold two fundamental beliefs: Organisms are organized into levels and the individuals at these levels differ in their properties. Together these suggest that there will be massive multiple realization, i.e. that many human psychological properties are multiply realized at many neurobiological levels. This paper provides some documentation in support of this suggestion.
This paper discusses in broad terms the metaphysical projects of Sydney Shoemaker’s Physical Realization . Specifically, I examine the effectiveness of Shoemaker’s novel “subset” account of realization for defusing the problem of mental causation, and compare the “subset” account with the standard “second-order” account. Finally, I discuss the physicalist status of the metaphysical worldview presented in Shoemaker’s important new contribution to philosophy of mind and metaphysics.
This paper is about the relation between two metaphysical topics: the nature of properties, and way the instantiation of a property is sometimes “realized in” something more fundamental. It is partly an attempt to develop further, but also to correct, my earlier treatments of these topics. In my published work on realization, including my book Physical Realization, I was at pains to insist that acceptance of my view about this does not commit one to the causal theory of (...) properties I have defended in several places. I held that it commits one to the claim that within any given world, properties with the same causal profile are identical, but not to the requirement that a property must have the same causal profile in any world in which it can be instantiated. I now think that this was a mistake. There is an argument from the account of realization I have offered to the conclusion that, if physicalism is true, properties of macroscopic objects have their causal profiles essentially. In what follows I will present that argument.Along the way I will correct what now seem to me mistakes in my earlier presentationsof the account of realization. And I will conclude with an additional argument for the causal theory of properties, one that does not tie it to the assumption that physicalism is true or to my account of realization. (shrink)
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 the two types of theory complement one another, even on the same range of scientific cases. I illustrate the point with two popular functionalist versions of flat and dimensioned positions – causal-role functionalism and a functional analysis by decomposition – that combine into a larger picture I call “comprehensive functional realization.” I also respond to some possible objections to this synthesis of functionalist views. (shrink)
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 'Subset' model of 'realization' (Kim, Mind in a physical world, 1998; Shapiro, J Philos XCVII: 635-654, 2000; Clapp, J Philos XCVIII: 111-136,2001 ; Wilson, Philos Stud 145: 149-169,2009). My primary goal in this paper is to show in still more detail that the Subset model of realization is inadequate for the descriptive task of describing the 'making-up' relations posited between properties or their instances in mechanistic explanations in the higher sciences. And my secondary goal is to highlight why this critique of the Subset view as a first-order descriptive account also shows there are deep difficulties in using the Subset account to address second-order issues in the philosophy of science as well. (shrink)
Sydney Shoemaker has been arguing for more than a decade for an account of the mind–body problem in which the notion of realization takes centre stage. His aim is to provide a notion of realization that is consistent with the multiple realizability of mental properties or events, and which explains: how the physical grounds the mental; and why the causal work of mental events is not screened off by that of physical events. Shoemaker's proposal consists of individuating properties (...) in terms of causal powers, and defining realization as a relation of inclusion between sets of causal powers. Thus, as the causal powers that define a mental property are a subset of the causal powers that characterize a physical property, it can be said that physical properties realize mental properties. In this paper we examine the physicalist credentials of Shoemaker's mind–body theory in relation to three important issues: the direction of the relation of dependence that the theory is committed to; the possibility of mental properties existing without being anchored by physical properties; and the compatibility of the theory with the causal closure of the physical world. We argue that Shoemaker's theory is problematic in all three respects. After that we consider whether the theory should count as a mind–body theory at all, given that it seems to be committed to a distorted view of mental properties. (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)
The previous decade has seen renewed critical interest in the multiple realization argument. These criticisms constitute a "second wave" of challenges to this central argument in late-20th century philosophy of mind. Unlike the first wave, which challenged the premise that multiple realization is inconsistent with reduction or type identity, this second wave challenges the truth of the multiple realization premise itself. Since psychoneural reductionism was prominent among the explicit targets of the multiple realization argument, one might (...) think that this second wave of challenges provides important aid and comfort to reductionists. In this paper, however, I provide reasons for thinking it does not. This is not to the detriment of psychoneural reductionism because, as I also argue here, and unrecognized by the current non-reductive orthodoxy in philosophy of mind, one key argument among the first wave of criticisms of the multiple realization argument has never been adequately rejoined. (shrink)
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)
Realization can be roughly understood as a kind of role-playing, a relationship between a property that plays a role and a property characterized by that role. This rough sketch previously received only moderate elaboration; recently, however, several substantive theories of realization have been proposed. But are there any general constraints on a theory of realization? What is a theory of realization supposed to accomplish? I first argue that a view of realization is viable, in part, (...) to the extent that physical realization under that view explains or accounts for why instances of realized properties are necessitated by how things are physically in a modally strong sense. In this sense, I claim that physical realization should explain physical supervenience. I then call into question two alternative desiderata and raise a challenge for attempts to explicate realization in terms of isomorphism or analogy. Finally, I explain how a causal-functional account of realization, as well as less demanding accounts, can meet the preferred desideratum. (shrink)
The concept of evolution as envisaged and developed by modern scientists will be reviewed. The concept of consciousness and its evolution in humans as enlightenment and self-realization as experienced and expressed in the Upanishads, Vedanta, Yoga Sutras, Bhakti Sutras and in the experiences and expressions of modern spiritual seers will be critically analyzed. And self-realization in individual leading one to and getting established in jeevanmukta state will be discussed. The possible irreversible physicochemical nature and implications of such consciousness (...) evolution in humans will be discussed. (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)
Several philosophers (e.g., Ehring (Nous (Detroit, Mich.) 30:461–480, 1996 ); Funkhouser (Nous (Detroit, Mich.) 40:548–569, 2006 ); Walter (Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37:217–244, 2007 ) have argued that there are metaphysical differences between the determinable-determinate relation and the realization relation between mental and physical properties. Others have challenged this claim (e.g., Wilson (Philosophical Studies, 2009 ). In this paper, I argue that there are indeed such differences and propose a “mechanistic” account of realization that elucidates why these differences (...) hold. This account of realization incorporates two distinct roles that mechanisms play in the realization of mental (and other special science) properties which are implicit, but undeveloped, in the literature—what I call “constitutive” and “integrative” mechanisms. I then use these two notions of mechanism to clarify some debates about the relations between realization, multiple realizability, and irreducibility. (shrink)
The realization relation that allegedly holds between mental and physical properties plays a crucial role for so-called non-reductive physicalism because it is supposed to secure both the ontological autonomy of mental properties and, despite their irreducibility, their ability to make a causal difference to the course of the causally closed physical world. For a long time however, the nature of realization has largely been ignored in the philosophy of mind until a couple of years ago authors like Carl (...) Gillett, Derk Pereboom, or Sydney Shoemaker proposed accounts according to which realization is understood against the background of the so-called 'causal theory of properties'. At least partially, the hope was to solve the problem of mental causation, in particular the kind of causal exclusion reasoning made famous by Jaegwon Kim, in a way acceptable to nonreductive physicalists. The paper asks whether a proper explication of the realization relation can indeed help explain how physically realized mental properties can be causally efficacious in the causally closed physical world and argues for a negative answer: it is important for the non-reductive physicalist to understand what exactly the realization relation amounts to, but it does not solve the problem of mental causation. (shrink)
Brian McLaughlin has objected to Sydney Shoemaker’s subset account of realization, posing what I call the problem of property entailment. Recently, Shoemaker has revised his subset account in response to McLaughlin’s objection. In this paper I argue that Shoemaker’s revised view fails to solve the problem of property entailment, and in fact makes the problem worse. I then put forward my own solution to the problem.
I use Carl Gillett’s much heralded dimensioned theory of realization as a platform to develop a plausible part–whole theory. I begin with some basic desiderata for a theory of realization that its key terms should be defined and that it should be explanatory. I then argue that Gillett’s original theory violates these conditions because its explanatory force rests upon an unspecified “in virtue of” relation. I then examine Gillett’s later version that appeals instead to theoretical terms tied to (...) “mechanisms.” Yet I argue that it too violates the desiderata, since it defines realization for mechanisms in terms of two undefined ideas whose explanatory credentials have not been established—“implementation” and “grounds.” Thus I drop those ideas in favor of an explicit constraint that the parts and properties provide a mechanistic explanation. I also distinguish a special mechanistic theory from a preferred general theory that incorporates other kinds of part–whole explanations that target causal powers or capacities. The result is a theory that has the explanatory virtues of mechanistic theories as well as a broader scope desired by Gillett. I also compare the result to a similar idea from Robert Cummins that has been neglected in recent discussions of realization, namely, his general property analysis rather than his functional analysis. Finally, I defend the preferred general theory against possible objections that attempt to show a conflict between metaphysical demands on a theory of realization versus facts about good scientific explanation. (shrink)
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 (...) in such cases we have the multiple realization of a single determinate, “fine grained” property instance that is exactly similar to another instance. As simple as this moral is, it has ramifications for a number of recent discussions of multiple realization in science. Taken collectively, these ramifications indicate that multiple realization by compensatory adjustments merits greater attention in the philosophy of science literature than it has hitherto received. (shrink)
This paper explores the relationship between psychology and neurobiology in the context of cognitive science. Are the sciences that constitute cognitive science independent and theoretically autonomous, or is there a necessary interaction between them? I explore Fodor's Multiple Realization Thesis (MRT) which starts with the fact of multiple realization and purports to derive the theoretical autonomy of special sciences (such as psychology) from structural sciences (such as neurobiology). After laying out the MRT, it is shown that, on closer (...) inspection, the argument is either circular or self-undermining--the argument either assumes the very autonomy it seeks to demonstrate or the concluded autonomy is contradicted by the theoretical interdependence invoked by the premises of the argument. Next, I explore a concrete example of multiple realization in the explanation of animal behavior: the convergent evolution of jamming avoidance behaviors in three genera of weakly electric fish. Contrary to the image painted by the MRT, the work on these animals involves a high degree of interaction between the various levels of investigation. The fact that our understanding of electric fish behavior involves functional theories and multiple realization without the kind of disunified science that is supposed to follow from such a situation indicates that the mere fact of multiple realization cannot be the basis for an autonomous psychology. (shrink)
Defenders of the subset view of realization have claimed that we can resolve well-known worries about mental-physical causal overdetermination by holding that mental properties are subset realized by physical properties, that instances of subset realized properties are parts of physical realizers, and that part-whole overdetermination is unproblematic. I challenge the claim that the overdetermination generated by the subset view can be legitimated by appealing to more mundane part-whole overdetermination. I conclude that the subset view does not provide a unique (...) solution to overdetermination worries. (shrink)
The paper criticizes standard functionalist arguments for multiple realization. It focuses on arguments in which psychological states are conceived as computational, which is precisely where the multiple realization doctrine has seemed the strongest. It is argued that a type-type identity thesis between computational states and physical states is no less plausible than a multiple realization thesis. The paper also presents, more tentatively, positive arguments for a picture of local reduction.
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. (shrink)
Non-reductive physicalists hold that mental properties are realized by physical properties. The realization relation is typically taken to be a metaphysical necessitation relation. Here, I explore how the metaphysical necessitation feature of realization can be explained by what is known as ‘the subset view’ of realization. The subset view holds that the causal powers that are associated with a realized property are a proper subset of the causal powers that are associated with the realizer property. I argue (...) that the said explanation of the metaphysical necessitation feature requires a careful treatment of the relationship between properties and causal powers. (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 have since presented challenges to this formulation. In the present paper, I aim to show that these challenges can be overcome.
The inﬂuence of Kurt Goldstein on the thinking of Georges Canguilhem extended throughout his entire work. This paper seeks to examine this relationship in order to conduct a study of the norm as a nexus or connection between the concept and life. Consequently, this work will be a reﬂection on the approach to life as a normative activity and self-realization. For this, it will be necessary to redeﬁne the concepts of health and disease, and make a crossover between the (...) two. At the end of this trajectory, it will be found that these concepts can explain the identity between the concept and life, which leads to the unexpected conclusion that the cure is ultimately self-healing. (shrink)
Melnyk provides a rigorous analysis of the notion of realization with the aim of defining Physicalism. It is argued here that contrary to Melnyk's Realization Physicalism, the idea that mental phenomena are realized by physical phenomena fails to capture the physicalist belief that the former obtain in virtue of the latter. The conclusion is not that Physicalism is false, but that its truth is best explained with some notion other than realization in Melnyk's sense. I also argue (...) that the problems with Melnyk's brand of Realization Physicalism generalize to other potential attempts to express Physicalism in terms of realization. The burden of proof is on the Realization Physicalist to show that physicalist intuitions can be adequately captured with the notion of realization. (shrink)
This paper focuses on the framework for the compositional relations of properties in the sciences, or "realization relations", offered by Ken Aizawa and Carl Gillett (A&G) in a series of papers, and in particular on the analysis of "multiple realizations" they build upon it. I argue that A&G's analysis of multiple realization requires an account of levels and I try to show, then, that the A&G framework is not successful under any of the extant accounts of levels. There (...) is consequently a real concern tha thte A&G framework for realization may not be viable. (shrink)
According to a prominent line of thought, we can be physicalists, but not reductive physicalists, by holding that mental and other ‘higher-level’ or ‘nonbasic’ properties — properties that are not obviously physical properties — are all physically realized. Spelling this out requires an account of realization, an account of what it is for one property to realize another. And while several accounts of realization have been advanced in recent years,1 my interest here is in the ‘subset view,’ which (...) has often been invoked explicitly in defense of nonreductive physicalist positions.2 The subset view holds that property realization consists in the powers of one property having as a subset the powers of another; .. (shrink)
The Subset View of realization, though it has some attractive advantages, also has several problems. In particular, there are five main problems that have emerged in the literature: Double-Counting, The Part/Whole Problem, The “No Addition of Being” Problem, The Problem of Projectibility, and the Problem of Spurious Kinds. Each is reviewed here, along with solutions (or partial solutions) to them. Taking these problems seriously constrains the form that a Subset view can take, and thus limits the kinds of relations (...) that can fulfill the realization relation on this view. (shrink)
Both Putnam and Searle have argued that that every abstract automaton is realized by every physical system, a claim that leads to a reductio argument against Cognitivism or Strong AI: if it is possible for a computer to be conscious by virtue of realizing some abstract automaton, then by Putnam’s theorem every physical system also realizes that automaton, and so every physical system is conscious—a conclusion few supporters of Strong AI would be willing to accept. Dennett has suggested a criterion (...) of reverse engineering for identifying “real patterns,” and I argue that this approach is also very effective at identifying “real realizations.” I focus on examples of real-world implementations of complex automata because previous attempts at answering Putnam’s challenge have been overly restrictive, ruling out some realizations that are in fact paradigmatic examples of practical automaton realization. I also argue that some previous approaches have at the same time been overly lenient in accepting counter-intuitive realizations of trivial automata. I argue that the reverse engineering approach avoids both of these flaws. Moreover, Dennett’s approach allows us to recognize that some realizations are better than others, and the line between real realizations and non-realizations is not sharp. (shrink)
The higher-order thought (HOT) theory of consciousness is a reductive representational theory of consciousness which says that what makes a mental state conscious is that there is a suitable HOT directed at that mental state. Although it seems that any neural realization of the theory must be somewhat widely distributed in the brain, it remains unclear just how widely distributed it needs to be. In section I, I provide some background and define some key terms. In section II, I (...) argue against the view that HOT theory should treat first-order (i.e. world-directed) conscious states as requiring prefrontal cortical activity though it is reasonable to suppose that conscious states are realized in the brain. In section III, I then explore some of the key background metaphysical issues involved in understanding the nature of consciousness, such as the debate between realism and idealism as well as the prospects for solving the so-called “hard problem” of consciousness. Some of the differences in question often mirror the traditional differences between Western and Eastern perspectives on the nature of consciousness. Overall, I argue that some form of realism and physicalism is more plausible than the opposing views. I also argue that materialists (and especially HOT theorists) can offer plausible replies to the hard problem. (shrink)
It has often been thought that compositional variation across systems that are similar from the point of view of the special sciences provides a key point in favor of the multiple realization of special science kinds and in turn the broadly nonreductive consequences often thought to follow from multiple realization. Yet in a series of articles, and culminating in The Multiple Realization Book, Tom Polger and Larry Shapiro argue that an account of multiple realization demanding enough (...) to yield such nonreductive consequences implies that compositional variation is far less significant for the multiple realization of special science kinds than many have supposed. I argue, in contrast, that even on this demanding account, lower-level compositional variation may frequently support the multiple realization of special science kinds across the systems of interest, and that there is a good explanation for where Polger and Shapiro go wrong in drawing the contrary conclusion. I consider but reject Carl Gillett’s claim that different views about the significance of compositional variation for multiple realization phenomena should be traced to implicit disagreement about the metaphysics of realization. (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)
This is a critical study of Sydney Shoemaker's, Physical Realization (Oxford University Press, 2007). It focuses on (i) the relationship between his subset theory of realization and the higher-order property theory of realization, and (ii) his attempt to solve the problem of mental causation.