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Bechtel, William P., , Jennifer Mundale. Multiple realizability revisited: Linking cognitive and neural states
1999, Philosophy of Science 66 (2): 175-207.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Abstract: The claim of the multiple realizability of mental states by brain states has been a major feature of the dominant philosophy of mind of the late 20th century. The claim is usually motivated by evidence that mental states are multiply realized, both within humans and between humans and other species. We challenge this contention by focusing on how neuroscientists differentiate brain areas. The fact that they rely centrally on psychological measures in mapping the brain and do so in a comparative fashion undercuts the likelihood that, at least within organic life forms, we are likely to find cases of multiply realized psychological functions.

Comment: One of the better arguments against multiple realizability. Could be used in any philosophy of mind course where that claim arises as a demonstration of how it could be challenged. A good deal of discussion about neuroscientific practices and methods, but not excessively technical.

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Figdor, Carrie, , . Neuroscience and the multiple realization of cognitive functions
2010, Philosophy of Science 77 (3):419-456.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Carrie Figdor

Article: Many empirically minded philosophers have used neuroscientific data to argue against the multiple realization of cognitive functions in existing biological organisms. I argue that neuroscientists themselves have proposed a biologically based concept of multiple realization as an alternative to interpreting empirical findings in terms of one-to-one structure/function mappings. I introduce this concept and its associated research framework and also how some of the main neuroscience-based arguments against multiple realization go wrong.

Comment: This is a direct reply to Bechtel and Mundale (1999) and I know some more aware people have paired it with that paper in the classroom. It’s philosophy of neuroscience, philosophy of mind.

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Zahle, Julie, , . The individualism-holism debate on intertheoretic reduction and the argument from multiple realization.
2003, Philosophy of the Social Sciences 33.1: 77-99.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Patricia Rich

Abstract: The argument from multiple realization is currently considered the argument against intertheoretic reduction. Both Little and Kincaid have applied the argument to the individualism-holism debate in support of the antireductionist holist position. The author shows that the tenability of the argument, as applied to the individualism-holism debate, hinges on the descriptive constraints imposed on the individualist position. On a plausible formulation of the individualist position, the argument does not establish that the intertheoretic reduction of social theories is highly unlikely. Nonetheless, the reductive project may run into other potential obstacles. For this reason, it is concluded that the prospect of intertheoretic reduction is uncertain rather than unlikely.

Comment: This reading discusses one of the most important arguments in the methodological individualism / holism debate in the philosophy of social science. It is recommended for a philosophy of social science class.

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