Are acids natural kinds? Or are they merely relevant kinds? Although acidity has been one of the oldest and most important concepts in chemistry, surprisingly little ink has been spilled on the natural kind question. I approach the question from the perspective of microstructural essentialism. After explaining why both Brønsted acids and Lewis acids are considered functional kinds, I address the challenges of multiple realization and multiple determination. Contra Manafu and Hendry, I argue that the stereotypical properties of acids are (...) not multiply realized. Instead, given the equivalence between the proton-donating and electron-accepting mechanisms of Brønsted and Lewis, respectively, I show that acidity as a property type can be identified with a unique microstructural property, namely the presence of a LUMO or other low energy empty orbital. In doing so, I defend the view that the Lewis theory encompasses Brønsted--Lowry, and that all Brønsted acids are also Lewis acids. Contra Hacking and Chang, I thus maintain that the different concepts of acidity do not crosscut, and that the hierarchy requirement is met. Finally, by characterizing natural kinds as powerful objects and by adopting a dispositional view of functions, I illustrate how the microessentialist can make sense of the latent and relational character of most acids. In sum, I contend that acids are genuine natural kinds, even for the microstructural essentialist. (shrink)
This is a chapter of the planned monograph "Out of Nowhere: The Emergence of Spacetime in Quantum Theories of Gravity", co-authored by Nick Huggett and Christian Wüthrich and under contract with Oxford University Press. (More information at www<dot>beyondspacetime<dot>net.) This chapter introduces the problem of emergence of spacetime in quantum gravity. It introduces the main philosophical challenge to spacetime emergence and sketches our preferred solution to it.
An introduction to functionalism in the philosophy of psychology/mind, and review of the current state of debate pro and con. Forthcoming in the Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Psychology (John Symons and Paco Calvo, eds.).
This is the first of four papers prompted by a recent literature about a doctrine dubbed spacetime functionalism. This paper gives our general framework for discussing functionalism. Following Lewis, we take it as a species of reduction. We start by expounding reduction in a broadly Nagelian sense. Then we argue that Lewis’ functionalism is an improvement on Nagelian reduction.This paper sets the scene for the other papers, which will apply our framework to theories of space and time. (So those papers (...) address the space and time literature: both recent and older, and physical as well as philosophical literature. But the four papers can be read independently.)Overall, we come to praise spacetime functionalism, not to bury it. But we criticize the recent philosophical literature for failing to stress: functionalism’s being a species of reduction (in particular: reduction of chrono-geometry to the physics of matter and radiation);functionalism’s idea, not just of specifying a concept by its functional role, but of specifying several concepts simultaneously by their roles;functionalism’s providing bridge laws that are mandatory, not optional: they are statements of identity (or co-extension) that are conclusions of a deductive argument, rather than contingent guesses or verbal stipulations; and once we infer them, we have a reduction in a Nagelian sense.On the other hand, some of the older philosophical literature, and the mathematical physics literature, is faithful to these ideas (i) to (iii)—as are Torretti’s writings. (But of course, the word ‘functionalism’ is not used; and themes like simultaneous unique definition are not articulated.) Thus in various papers, falling under various research programmes, the unique definability of a chrono-geometric concept (or concepts) in terms of matter and radiation, and a corresponding bridge law and reduction, is secured by a precise theorem. Hence our desire to celebrate these results as rigorous renditions of spacetime functionalism. (shrink)
I consider a problem for functional reductionism, based on the following tension. Say that b is functionally reduced to a. On the one hand, a and b turn out to be identical, and identity is a symmetric relation. On the other hand, functional reductionism implies that a and b are asymmetrically related: if b is functionally reduced to a, then a is not functionally reduced to b. Thus, we ask: how can a and b be asymmetrically related if they are (...) the same thing? I propose a solution to this tension, by distinguishing between ontological levels and levels of description. (shrink)
In this essay, I propose a functionalist theory of grounding (functionalist-grounding). Specifically, I argue that grounding is a second-order phenomenon that is realized by relations that play the noncausal explanatoriness role. I also show that functionalist-grounding can deal with a powerful challenge. Appeals to explanatory unificationism have been made to argue that the success of noncausal explanations does not depend on the existence of grounding relations. Against this, I argue that a systematization involving functionalist-grounding is superior to its anti-relational counterpart.
The standard event-causal theory of action says that an intentional action is caused in the right way by the right mental states. This view requires reductionism about agency. The causal role of the agent must be nothing over and above the causal contribution of the relevant mental event-causal processes. But commonsense finds this reductive solution to the “agent-mind problem”, the problem of explaining the relationship between agents and the mind, incredible. Where did the agent go? This paper suggests that this (...) challenge against event-causal reductionism is importantly related to debates about fundamentality. It also suggests that extant event-causal answers to the agent-mind problem, ones that suggest that part of an agent’s mind can stand proxy for the agent herself, fail against the challenge. It sketches an alternative reductive view that appeals to entity grounding. This view resolves the commonsense challenge and promises to be theoretically fruitful with respect to other longstanding problems with the event-casual view. The paper concludes with a burden-shifting argument against emergentist agent-causal theories and non-reductive event-causal theories of agency. (shrink)
This paper describes a version of type identity physicalism, which we call Flat Physicalism, and shows how it meets several objections often raised against identity theories. This identity theory is informed by recent results in the conceptual foundations of physics, and in particular clar- ifies the notion of ‘physical kinds’ in light of a conceptual analysis of the paradigmatic case of reducing thermody- namics to statistical mechanics. We show how Flat Physi- calism is compatible with the appearance of multiple realisation (...) in the special sciences, and how and in what sense the special sciences laws are autonomous from the laws of physics, despite the full reductive picture of Flat Physicalism. We compare our view with a recent proposal by William Bechtel that accounts for the appearance of levels in mechanistic explanations. (shrink)
Functionalism has become one of the predominant theories in the philosophy of mind, with its many merits supposedly including its capacity for precise formulation. The most common method to express this precise formulation is by means of the modified Ramsey sentence. In this article, I will apply work from the field of the philosophy of science to functionalism for the first time, examining how Newman’s objection undermines the Ramsey sentence as a means of formalising functionalism. I will also present a (...) formal variation on Newman’s objection through mathematical induction. Together, these proofs suggest that functionalism formalised by the Ramsey sentence trivially reduces to a kind of behaviourism plus a cardinality constraint on the number of relations holding between mental-relevant behaviours. As most functionalists see functionalism as a distinct theory of mind from behaviourism, this suggests that the modified Ramsey sentence cannot form a satisfactory formalism for functionalism. (shrink)
In recent work, Sarah Robins, Gerardo Viera and Steven James have provided some insightful objections to the ideas offered in my book, Memory: A Self-Referential Account. In this paper, I put forward some responses to those objections. Robins challenges the idea that being a memory could be a matter of having a particular functional role within the subject’s cognitive economy. Viera challenges the idea that the content of a memory could explain some of its phenomenological properties. And James challenges the (...) idea that our memories could be immune to error through misidentification. All three commentators are targeting, not tangential aspects of, but fundamental assumptions in the account of memory proposed in the book. For that reason, modifying some of those assumptions would amount to proposing a whole different account of memory. I hope to show, however, that such a radical move is not necessary. For there are possible responses to the objections from all three commentators which are available within the constraints of the account proposed in the book. (shrink)
In Memory: A Self-Referential Account, Fernández offers a functionalist account of the metaphysics of memory, which is portrayed as presenting significant advantages over causal and narrative theories of memory. In this paper, I present a series of challenges for Fernández’s functionalism. There are issues with both the particulars of the account and the use of functionalism more generally. First, in characterizing the mnemonic role of episodic remembering, Fernández fails to make clear how the mental image type that plays this role (...) should be identified. Second, I argue that a functionalist approach, which appeals to the overall structure of the memory system and tendencies of mental state types, is ill-suited to the metaphysical question about episodic remembering that is of interest to the causal and narrative theorists with which Fernandez engages. Fernández’s self-referential account of memory has many other virtues, but functionalism is a poor fit for episodic remembering. (shrink)
Aestheticians generally agree that the aesthetic features of an object depend upon the non-aesthetic features of an object, and that this dependence can be captured by some formulation of the supervenience relation. I argue that the aesthetic depends upon the non-aesthetic in various and importantly different ways; that these dependence relations cannot be explained by supervenience; that appeals to supervenience create puzzles that aestheticians have neither fully appreciated nor resolved; and that appealing to various realization relations avoids these puzzles and (...) allows for a richer description of how the aesthetic depends upon the non-aesthetic. (shrink)
Polger and Shapiro (2016) claim that unlike human-made artifacts cases of multiple realization in naturally occurring systems are uncommon. Drawing on cases from systems biology, I argue that multiple realization in naturally occurring systems is not as uncommon as Polger and Shapiro initially thought. The relevant cases, which I draw from systems biology, involve generalizable design principles called network motifs which recur in different organisms and species and perform specific functions. I show that network motifs with entirely different underlying causal (...) structures can perform the same function of interest. The article also considers the scope problem of multiple realization. (shrink)
Besides having potential medical and biosafety applications, as well as challenging the foundations of biological engineering, xenobiology can also shed light on the epistemological and metaphysical questions that puzzle philosophers of science. This paper reviews this philosophical aspect of xenobiology, focusing on the possible multiple realizability of life. According to this hypothesis, what ultimately matters in understanding life is its function, not its particular building blocks. This is because there should, in theory, be many different ways to build the same (...) function. The possibility of multiple realizability was originally raised in the context of AI’s hypothesized capacity to realize mental functions. Because we still do not have any incontrovertible examples of digital minds, not to mention alien life of foreign biochemistry, the best way to test this philosophical idea is to examine the recent results and practices of synthetic biology and xenobiology. (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)
Mario Villalobos and Pablo Razeto-Barry argue that enactivists should understand living beings not as autopoietic systems, but as autopoietic bodies. In doing so, they surrender the principle of multiple realizability of the spatial location of living beings. By way of counterexample, I argue that more motivation is required before this principle is surrendered.
It is widely assumed that functional and dispositional properties are not identical to their physical base, but that there is some kind of asymmetrical ontological dependence between them. In this regard, a popular idea is that the former are realized by the latter, which, under the non-identity assumption, is generally understood to be a non-causal, constitutive relation. In this paper we examine two of the most widely accepted approaches to realization, the so-called ‘flat view’ and the ‘dimensioned view’, and we (...) analyze their explanatory relevance in the light of a number of examples from the life sciences, paying special attention to developmental phenomena. Our conclusion is that the emphasis placed by modern-day biology on such properties as variability, evolvability, and a whole collection of phenomena like modularity, robustness, and developmental constraint or developmental bias requires the adoption of a much more dynamic perspective than traditional realization frameworks are able to capture. (shrink)
Recent work on quantum gravity suggests that neither spacetime nor spatiotemporally located entites exist at a fundamental level. The loss of both brings with it the threat of empirical incoherence. A theory is empirically incoherent when the truth of that theory undermines the empirical justification for believing it. If neither spacetime nor spatiotemporally located entities exist as a part of a fundamental theory of QG, then such a theory seems to imply that there are no observables and so no way (...) that the theory can be confirmed. The threat of empirical incoherence can be addressed by treating spacetime and spatiotemporally located entities as emergent. The question then arises as to what the metaphysical nature of this emergence might be. In this paper, I explore a functionalist approach to this kind of emergence in the context of loop quantum gravity. I begin by rehearsing the spacetime functionalist’s account of emergence, clarifying the view along the way. I proceed to sketch out a functionalist treatment of spatiotemporally located entities and combine the two forms of functionalism into a double functionalism, according to which both spacetime and matter have the same functional realisers. (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)
In 1956 U. T. Place proposed that consciousness is a brain process. More attention should be paid to his word ‘process’. There is near-universal agreement that experiences are processive—as witnessed in the platitude that experiences are occurrent states. The abandonment of talk of brain processes has benefited functionalism, because a functional state, as it is usually conceived, cannot be a process. This point is dimly recognized in a well-known but little-discussed argument that conscious experiences cannot be functional states because the (...) former are occurrent, while the latter are dispositional. That argument fails, but it can be made sound if we reformulate it with the premise that occurrent states are processive. The only way for functionalists to meet the resulting challenge is to abandon the standard individuation of functional states in terms of purely abstract causal roles. (shrink)
Multiple realization has traditionally been characterized as a thesis about the relation between kinds posited by the taxonomic systems of different sciences. In this paper, I argue that there are good reasons to move beyond this framing. I begin by showing how the traditional framing is tied to positivist models of explanation and reduction and proceed to develop an alternate framing that operates instead within causal explanatory frameworks. I draw connections between this account and the notion of functional robustness in (...) biology and neuroscience. I then examine two cases from systems neuroscience that substantiate my account and show how traditional debates fail to track important features of these cases. (shrink)
This paper provides some responses to Tom Polger and Larry Shapiro’s The Multiple Realization Book (2016). I first provide a description of the authors’ framework for thinking about multiple realization and the conditions they claim this involves. I explain what I think they get right and what they get wrong with this framework. After this, I then consider a few examples of multiple realization they discuss and the interpretations they offer. While I am sympathetic to several things they say about (...) multiple realization, I also think there are some questions that have yet to be answered. (shrink)
Block argued against functionalism. The argument was metaphorized by building a normal body but with the brain of a homunculus. A review of the metaphorization exposes that the argument is inadequate to avoid the weakness of the functionalist doctrine.
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 (Robert Francescotti, Daniel Stoljar, Carl Gillett, and Susan Schneider) have since presented challenges to this formulation. In the present paper, I aim to show that these challenges can be overcome.
How should thought and consciousness be understood within a view of the world as being through-and-through physical? Many philosophers have proposed non-reductive, levels-based positions, according to which the physical domain is fundamental, while thought and consciousness are higher-level processes, dependent on and determined by physical processes. In this book, Kevin Morris's careful philosophical and historical critique shows that it is very difficult to make good metaphysical sense of this idea - notions like supervenience, physical realization, and grounding all fail to (...) articulate a viable non-reductive, levels-based physicalism. Challenging assumptions about the mind-body problem and providing new perspectives on the debate over physicalism, this accessible and comprehensive book will interest scholars working in metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science. (shrink)
This paper offers a qualified defense of Terry Horgan’s view of brute, inexplicable supervenience theses as physically unacceptable—as having no place in physicalist metaphysics—and his corresponding emphasis on the importance of “superdupervenience”, metaphysical supervenience that can be explained in a “materialistically acceptable” way. I argue, in response to Tom Polger, that it may be possible to ground the physical unacceptability of brute supervenience in its relation physically unacceptable properties supervening on physical properties; moreover, I argue that Horgan’s emphasis on the (...) need for superdupervenience cannot be rejected as unreasonably demanding for the reasons that Polger offers. I furthermore respond to Jessica Wilson’s reasons for thinking that superdupervenience is neither necessary nor sufficient for physical acceptability. Reflection on these topics helps to bring out several issues about the role of supervenience in physicalist metaphysics and ultimately a problem that any supervenience-based approach to physicalism may face. (shrink)
In the pure powers ontology (PPO), basic physical properties have wholly dispositional essences. PPO has clear advantages over categoricalist ontologies, which suffer from familiar epistemological and metaphysical problems. However, opponents argue that because it contains no qualitative properties, PPO lacks the resources to individuate powers, and generates a regress. The challenge for those who take such arguments seriously is to introduce qualitative properties without reintroducing the problems that PPO was meant to solve. In this paper, I distinguish the core claim (...) of PPO: (i) basic physical properties have dispositional essences, from a hitherto unnoticed assumption: (ii) the dispositional essences of basic physical properties exclusively involve type-causal relations to other basic physical properties. I reject (ii), making room for a structuralist ontology in which all basic physical properties are pure powers, individuated by their places in a causal structure that includes not only other powers, but also physically realized qualitative properties such as shapes, patterns and structures. Such qualities individuate pure powers in the way that non-mental input and output properties individuate realized mental properties in functionalist theories of mind, except that here it is basic physical powers that are individuated by relations to realized non-powers. I distinguish one Platonic and two Aristotelian version of this theory, and argue that the Aristotelian versions require that grounding is not always a relative fundamentality relation, because the powers ground the qualities that individuate them. By considering ontic structural realism, I argue that symmetric grounding is the best way to make sense of relational individuation in structuralist ontologies, and is therefore no additional commitment of the one proposed here. (shrink)
It is argued that although George Bealer's influential ‘Self-Consciousness argument’ refutes standard versions of reductive functionalism (RF), it fails to generalize in the way Bealer supposes. To wit, he presupposes that any version of RF must take the content of ‘pain’ to be the property of being in pain (and so on), which is expressly rejected in independently motivated versions of conceptual role semantics (CRS). Accordingly, there are independently motivated versions of RF, incorporating CRS, which avoid Bealer's main type of (...) refutation. I focus particularly on one such theory, which takes concepts to be event types that are individuated by their psychological roles, which has the resources of responding to each of the more specific worries Bealer expresses. (shrink)
In discussing the famous case of Otto, a patient with Alzheimer’s disease who carries around a notebook to keep important information, Clark and Chalmers argue that some of Otto’s beliefs are physically realized in the notebook. In other words, some of Otto’s beliefs are extended into the environment. Their main argument is a functionalist one. Some of Otto’s beliefs are physically realized in the notebook because, first, some of the beliefs of Inga, a healthy person who remembers important information in (...) her head, are physically realized in her internal memory storage, and, second, there is no relevant functional difference between the role of the notebook for Otto and the role of the internal memory storage for Inga. The paper presents a new objection to this argument. I call it “the systems reply” to the functionalist argument since it is structurally analogous to the “the systems reply” to Searle’s Chinese room argument. According to the systems reply to the functionalist argument, what actually follows from their argument is not that beliefs of Otto are physically realized in the notebook but rather that the beliefs of the hybrid system consisting of Otto and his notebook are physically realized in the notebook. This paper also discusses Sprevak’s claim that the functionalist argument entails radical versions of extended mental states and shows that his argument is also vulnerable to the systems reply. (shrink)
In this paper, I show how semantic factors constrain the understanding of the computational phenomena to be explained so that they help build better mechanistic models. In particular, understanding what cognitive systems may refer to is important in building better models of cognitive processes. For that purpose, a recent study of some phenomena in rats that are capable of ‘entertaining’ future paths (Pfeiffer and Foster 2013) is analyzed. The case shows that the mechanistic account of physical computation may be complemented (...) with semantic considerations, and in many cases, it actually should. (shrink)
This article argues that standard causal and functionalist definitions of realization fail to account for the realization of entities that cannot be individuated in causal or functional terms. By modifying such definitions to require that realizers also logically suffice for any historical properties of the entities they realize, one can provide for the realization of entities whose resistance to causal/functional individuation stems from their possession of individuative historical properties. But if qualia cannot be causally or functionally individuated, then qualia can (...) be physically realized only if the thesis that all things are physical or physically realized is insufficient for physicalism. (shrink)
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)
Philosophers almost universally believe that concepts of supervenience fail to satisfy the standards for physicalism because they offer mere property correlations that are left unexplained. They are thus compatible with non-physicalist accounts of those relations. Moreover, many philosophers not only prefer some kind of functional-role theory as a physically acceptable account of mind-body and other inter-level relations, but they use it as a form of “superdupervenience” to explain supervenience in a physically acceptable way. But I reject a central part of (...) this common narrative. I argue that functional-role theories fail by the same standards for physicalism because they merely state without explaining how a physical property plays or occupies a functional role. They are thus compatible with non-physicalist accounts of that role-occupying relation. I also argue that one cannot redeploy functional-role theory at a deeper level to explain role occupation, specifically by iterating the role-occupant scheme. Instead, one must use part-whole structural and mechanistic explanations that differ from functional-role theory in important ways. These explanations represent a form of “superduperfunctionalism” that stand to functional-role theory as concepts of superdupervenience stand to concepts of supervenience. (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)
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. (shrink)
How should ‘the physical’ be defined for the purpose of formulating physicalism? In this paper I defend a version of the via negativa according to which a property is physical just in case it is neither fundamentally mental nor possibly realized by a fundamentally mental property. The guiding idea is that physicalism requires functionalism, and thus that being a type identity theorist requires being a realizer-functionalist. In §1 I motivate my approach partly by arguing against Jessica Wilson's no fundamental mentality (...) constraint. In §2 I set out my preferred definition of ‘the physical’ and make my case that physicalism requires functionalism. In §3 I defend my proposal by attacking the leading alternative account of ‘the physical,’ the theory-based conception. Finally, in §4 I draw on my definition, together with Jaegwon Kim's account of intertheoretic reduction, to defend the controversial view that physicalism requires a priori physicalism. (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)
In this paper I discuss the kinds of dependence relation that philosophers have argued may obtain between neural events and conscious events; between Ns and Cs. Three major candidate relations are constitution, realization, and identity. There are other candidates for the mind/body relation, but these will serve as the major options. Indeed, these are already more than three options, because philosophers do not agree on the best way to understand constitution; still less to understand realization. I argue that dispute is (...) not merely "metaphysical": each candidate has distinct empirical consequences. (shrink)
This paper examines, for the first time, the relationship between realization relations and the free energy principle in cognitive neuroscience. I argue, firstly, that the free energy principle has ramifications for the wide versus narrow realization distinction: if the free energy principle is correct, then organismic realizers are insufficient for realizing free energy minimization. I argue, secondly, that the free energy principle has implications for synchronic realization relations, because free energy minimization is realized in dynamical agent-environment couplings embedded at multiple (...) time scales. (shrink)
A common view is that the truth of multiple realization—e.g., about psychological states—entails the truth of functionalism. This is supposed to follow because what is multiply realized is eo ipso realized. I argue that view is mistaken by demonstrating how it misrepresents arguments from multiple realization. In particular, it undermines the empirical component of the arguments, and renders the multiplicity of the realization irrelevant. I suggest an alternative reading of multiple realizability arguments, particularly in philosophy of psychology. And I explain (...) the proper way to understand the relation between realization and multiple realization. (shrink)