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Two Confusions Concerning Multiple Realization

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022

Abstract

Despite some recent advances, multiple realization remains a largely misunderstood thesis. Consider the dispute between Lawrence Shapiro and Carl Gillett over the application of Shapiro's recipe for deciding when we have genuine cases of multiple realization. I argue that Gillett follows many philosophers in mistakenly supposing that multiple realization is absolute and transitive. Both of these are problematic. They are tempting only when we extract the question of multiple realization from the explanatory context in which it is invoked. Anchoring multiple realizability in its theoretical context provides grounds for arbitrating disagreements. Doing so, I argue, favors the view advanced by Shapiro.

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

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