A liberal conception of multiple realizability

Philosophical Studies 132 (3):467-494 (2007)
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While the concept of multiple realizability is widely used, it is seldom rigorously characterized. This paper defends a liberal conception of multiple realizability as sameness of type through _any_ differences in the (lower-level) conditions that give rise to instances of that type. This kind of “sameness through difference” is contrasted with another type of asymmetric dependency relation between properties, multiple _specification_. This liberal conception is then defended from objections, and it is augmented by a concept of relativized multiple realizability. The last section presents a survey of the ontological, explanatory, and methodological consequences of this analysis of multiple realizability.



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Eric Funkhouser
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Citations of this work

Where Do You Get Your Protein? Or: Biochemical Realization.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (3):799-825.
Multiple realizability.Eric Funkhouser - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (2):303–315.
Realization, determination, and mechanisms.Matthew C. Haug - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 150 (3):313-330.

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