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Autonomy and Multiple Realization

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022


Multiple realization historically mandated the autonomy of psychology, and its principled irreducibility to neuroscience. Recently, multiple realization and its implications for the reducibility of psychology to neuroscience have been challenged. One challenge concerns the proper understanding of reduction. Another concerns whether multiple realization is as pervasive as is alleged. I focus on the latter question. I illustrate multiple realization with actual, rather than hypothetical, cases of multiple realization from within the biological sciences. Though they do support a degree of autonomy for higher levels of explanation and organization, they do not have the dire consequences critics of multiple realization fear.

Multiple Realizability, Explanation, and Special Sciences
Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

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