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Chapter 13 - Identity, variability, and multiple realization in the special sciences

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 April 2012

Simone Gozzano
Affiliation:
Università degli Studi dell'Aquila, Italy
Christopher S. Hill
Affiliation:
Brown University, Rhode Island
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Summary

Issues of identity and reduction have monopolized much of the philosopher of mind's time over the past several decades. This chapter discusses the early identity theorists- Place, Feigl, and Smart thought about scientific identities which help us understand the identity theory's relationship to reductionism and the extent to which the possibility of multiple realizations poses a threat. This chapter summarizes the discussion of the identity theory; philosophers have mischaracterized reduction, painting with broad strokes a picture that is far better rendered with a sharp point. At its most basic, reduction is about the explanation of the distinctive phenomena of one science using the resources of another. Within these confines, reduction can be interpreted in various ways. Consequently, abundant reason exists to be skeptical of reduction that treat it as a monolithic endeavor in which stovepipe bridge laws play a central and metaphysically demanding role.
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New Perspectives on Type Identity
The Mental and the Physical
, pp. 264 - 287
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2012

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