PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Symposium: Multiple Realizability in a Physical World

Friday, 4 November 2016
13:30 - 15:30

Piedmont 4 (12th Floor)

Chair: Gualtiero Piccinini, University of MO - Saint Louis

In this symposium we wish to offer some new perspectives on the multiple realization of special sciences kinds by physical kinds. The idea of multiple realization is very influential in contemporary attempts at understanding the relationship between the special sciences and physics. There are two sorts of arguments in support of multiple realization: empirical and a priori arguments. In this symposium, we provide both sorts of analyses of the idea of multiple realization and of cases in which it allegedly obtains. Polger and Shapiro focus on a detailed study of the scientific underpinning of paradigmatic cases and conclude that multiple realization is less ubiquitous than often thought. Hemmo and Shenker provide a fully reductionist physicalist framework in which even the special sciences kinds that appear to be multiple realized are, as a matter of fact, identical with physical kinds. The conclusion of the symposium is that accepting the thesis of multiple realization on the basis of appearance is much too quick.

A physicalist account of multiple realizability in the special sciences
Meir Hemmo, University of Haifa,
Computationalism, Multiple Realizability, and Autonomy
Thomas Polger, University of Cincinnati,
The Empirical Case Against Multiple Realization
Lawrence Shapiro, University of Wisconsin--Madison,
A reductive physicalist account of the autonomy of psychology
Orly Shenker, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem,


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