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Physical Realization

Oxford University Press UK (2007)

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  1. Must Strong Emergence Collapse?Umut Baysan & Jessica Wilson - 2017 - Philosophica 91:49--104.
    Some claim that the notion of strong emergence as involving ontological or causal novelty makes no sense, on grounds that any purportedly strongly emergent features or associated powers 'collapse', one way or another, into the lower-level base features upon which they depend. Here we argue that there are several independently motivated and defensible means of preventing the collapse of strongly emergent features or powers into their lower-level bases, as directed against a conception of strongly emergent features as having fundamentally novel (...)
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  • Construction Area (No Hard Hat Required).Karen Bennett - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (1):79-104.
    A variety of relations widely invoked by philosophers—composition, constitution, realization, micro-basing, emergence, and many others—are species of what I call ‘building relations’. I argue that they are conceptually intertwined, articulate what it takes for a relation to count as a building relation, and argue that—contra appearances—it is an open possibility that these relations are all determinates of a common determinable, or even that there is really only one building relation.
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  • Invisible Disagreement: An Inverted Qualia Argument for Realism.Justin Donhauser - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (3):593-606.
    Scientific realists argue that a good track record of multi-agent, and multiple method, validation of empirical claims is itself evidence that those claims, at least partially and approximately, reflect ways nature actually is independent of the ways we conceptualize it. Constructivists contend that successes in validating empirical claims only suffice to establish that our ways of modelling the world, our “constructions,” are useful and adequate for beings like us. This essay presents a thought experiment in which beings like us intersubjectively (...)
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  • Structuralism in the Idiom of Determination.Kerry McKenzie - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx061.
    Ontic structural realism is at its core a thesis of fundamentality metaphysics: the thesis that structure, not objects, is endowed with fundamental status. Claimed both as the metaphysic most befitting of modern physics and radically at odds with more mainstream views, OSR first emerged as an entreaty to eliminate objects from our scheme of fundamental metaphysics. But an alternative view that physics does sanction objects, albeit merely as ontologically secondary entities, represents a different and seemingly less extreme route to the (...)
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  • A Defense of the Knowledge Argument.John Martin DePoe - unknown
    Defenders of the Knowledge Argument contend that physicalism is false because knowing all the physical truths is not sufficient to know all the truths about the world. In particular, proponents of the Knowledge Argument claim that physicalism is false because the truths about the character of conscious experience are not knowable from the complete set of physical truths. This dissertation is a defense of the Knowledge Argument. Chapter one characterizes what physicalism is and provides support for the claim that if (...)
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  • Emergence and Reduction in Science. A Case Study.Manafu Alexandru - unknown
    The past decade or so has witnessed an increase in the number of philosophical discussions about emergence and reduction in science. However, many of these discussions remain too abstract and theoretical, and are wanting with respect to concrete examples taken from the sciences. This dissertation studies the topics of reduction and emergence in the context of a case study. I focus on the case of chemistry and investigate how emergentism can help us secure the autonomy of this discipline in relation (...)
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  • Vertical Versus Horizontal: What is Really at Issue in the Exclusion Problem?John Donaldson - 2019 - Synthese:1-16.
    I outline two ways of reading what is at issue in the exclusion problem faced by non-reductive physicalism, the “vertical” versus “horizontal”, and argue that the vertical reading is to be preferred to the horizontal. I discuss the implications: that those who have pursued solutions to the horizontal reading of the problem have taken a wrong turn.
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  • Causal Overdetermination and Modal Compatibilism.Kevin Sharpe - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (4):1111-1131.
    Compatibilists respond to the problem of causal exclusion for nonreductive physicalism by rejecting the exclusionist’s ban on overdetermination. By the compatibilist’s lights there are two forms of overdetermination, one that’s problematic and another that is entirely benign. Furthermore, multiple causation by “tightly related” causes requires only the benign form of overdetermination. Call this the tight relation strategy for avoiding problematic forms of overdetermination. To justify the tight relation strategy, modal compatibilists appeal to a widely accepted counterfactual test. The argument of (...)
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  • Naturalism and Physicalism.D. Gene Witmer - 2012 - In Robert Barnard & Neil Manson (eds.), Continuum Companion to Metaphysics. pp. 90-120.
    A substantial guide providing an overview of both physicalism and metaphysical naturalism, reviewing both questions of formulation and justification for both doctrines. Includes a diagnostic strategy for understanding talk of naturalism as a metaphysical thesis.
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  • Causation at Different Levels: Tracking the Commitments of Mechanistic Explanations.Peter Fazekas & Gergely Kertész - 2011 - Biology and Philosophy 26 (3):365-383.
    This paper tracks the commitments of mechanistic explanations focusing on the relation between activities at different levels. It is pointed out that the mechanistic approach is inherently committed to identifying causal connections at higher levels with causal connections at lower levels. For the mechanistic approach to succeed a mechanism as a whole must do the very same thing what its parts organised in a particular way do. The mechanistic approach must also utilise bridge principles connecting different causal terms of different (...)
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  • Mind–Brain Identity and Evidential Insulation.Jakob Hohwy - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 153 (3):261-286.
    Is it rational to believe that the mind is identical to the brain? Identity theorists say it is (or looks like it will be, once all the neuroscientific evidence is in), and they base this claim on a general epistemic route to belief in identity. I re-develop this general route and defend it against some objections. Then I discuss how rational belief in mind–brain identity, obtained via this route, can be threatened by an appropriately adjusted version of the anti-physicalist knowledge (...)
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  • Abstraction and Explanatory Relevance, or Why Do the Special Sciences Exist?Matthew C. Haug - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1143-1155.
    Non-reductive physicalists have long held that the special sciences offer explanations of some phenomena that are objectively superior to physical explanations. This explanatory “autonomy” has largely been based on the multiple realizability argument. Recently, in the face of the local reduction and disjunctive property responses to multiple realizability, some defenders of non-reductive physicalism have suggested that autonomy can be grounded merely in human cognitive limitations. In this paper, I argue that this is mistaken. By distinguishing between two kinds of abstraction (...)
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  • Exclusion, Still Not Tracted.Douglas Keaton & Thomas W. Polger - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 171 (1):135-148.
    Karen Bennett has recently articulated and defended a “compatibilist” solution to the causal exclusion problem. Bennett’s solution works by rejecting the exclusion principle on the grounds that even though physical realizers are distinct from the mental states or properties that they realize, they necessarily co-occur such that they fail to satisfy standard accounts of causal over-determination. This is the case, Bennett argues, because the causal background conditions for core realizers being sufficient causes of their effects are identical to the “surround” (...)
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  • The Puzzles of Material Constitution.L. A. Paul - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (7):579-590.
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  • The Delocalized Mind. Judgements, Vehicles, and Persons.Pierre Steiner - 2014 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 13 (3):1-24.
    Drawing on various resources and requirements (as expressed by Dewey, Wittgenstein, Sellars, and Brandom), this paper proposes an externalist view of conceptual mental episodes that does not equate them, even partially, with vehicles of any sort, whether the vehicles be located in the environment or in the head. The social and pragmatic nature of the use of concepts and conceptual content makes it unnecessary and indeed impossible to locate the entities that realize conceptual mental episodes in non-personal or subpersonal contentful (...)
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  • Thoughts on Sydney Shoemaker’s Physical Realization.Jaegwon Kim - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 148 (1):101 - 112.
    This paper discusses in broad terms the metaphysical projects of Sydney Shoemaker’s Physical Realization . Specifically, I examine the effectiveness of Shoemaker’s novel “subset” account of realization for defusing the problem of mental causation, and compare the “subset” account with the standard “second-order” account. Finally, I discuss the physicalist status of the metaphysical worldview presented in Shoemaker’s important new contribution to philosophy of mind and metaphysics.
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  • Subset Realization and the Problem of Property Entailment.Justin Tiehen - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (2):471-480.
    Brian McLaughlin has objected to Sydney Shoemaker’s subset account of realization, posing what I call the problem of property entailment. Recently, Shoemaker has revised his subset account in response to McLaughlin’s objection. In this paper I argue that Shoemaker’s revised view fails to solve the problem of property entailment, and in fact makes the problem worse. I then put forward my own solution to the problem.
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  • Explaining Causal Closure.Justin Tiehen - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (9):2405-2425.
    The physical realm is causally closed, according to physicalists like me. But why is it causally closed, what metaphysically explains causal closure? I argue that reductive physicalists are committed to one explanation of causal closure to the exclusion of any independent explanation, and that as a result, they must give up on using a causal argument to attack mind–body dualism. Reductive physicalists should view dualism in much the way that we view the hypothesis that unicorns exist, or that the Kansas (...)
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  • Pursuing Natural Piety: Understanding Ontological Emergence and Distinguishing It From Physicalism.Peter Fazekas - 2014 - Dialectica 68 (1):97-119.
    This paper focuses on two issues related to ontological emergence: whether it is a coherent notion, and its relation to the doctrine of physicalism. First, it is argued that ontological emergence is best understood as a thesis relying on three fundamental tenets claiming that emergents are basic, genuinely causal, and determined by the physical realm. The paper elucidates the roles of these tenets, and introduces an interpretation that is able to resolve any apparent contradiction between the tenets, thereby supporting the (...)
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  • The Cost of Forfeiting Causal Inheritance.Justin T. Tiehen - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (2):491-507.
    Jaegwon Kim’s causal inheritance principle says that the causal powers of a mental property instance are identical with the causal powers of its particular physical realizer. Sydney Shoemaker’s subset account of realization is at odds with Kim’s principle: it says that a mental property instance has fewer causal powers than Kim’s principle entails. In this paper, I argue that the subset account should be rejected because it has intolerable consequences for mental causation, consequences that are avoided by accepting causal inheritance. (...)
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  • Why the Counterfactualist Should Still Worry About Downward Causation.Lei Zhong - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (1):159-171.
    In Zhong (Philos Phenomenol Res 83:129–147, 2011; Analysis 72:75–85, 2012), I argued that, contrary to what many people might expect, the counterfactual theory of causation will generate (rather than solve) the exclusion problem. Recently some philosophers raise an incisive objection to this argument. They contend that my argument fails as it equivocates between different notions of a physical realizer (see Christensen and Kallestrup in Analysis 72:513–517, 2012). However, I find that their criticism doesn’t threaten the central idea of my view. (...)
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  • Can Determinable Properties Earn Their Keep?Robert Schroer - 2011 - Synthese 183 (2):229-247.
    Sydney Shoemaker's "Subset Account" offers a new take on determinable properties and the realization relation as well as a defense of non-reductive physicalism from the problem of mental causation. At the heart of this account are the claims that (1) mental properties are determinable properties and (2) the causal powers that individuate a determinable property are a proper subset of the causal powers that individuate the determinates of that property. The second claim, however, has led to the accusation that the (...)
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  • Shoemaker on Emergence.Warren Shrader - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 150 (2):285 - 300.
    Sydney Shoemaker has recently given an account of emergent properties according to which emergent properties are a special type of structural property and the determination relation holding between emergent properties and their base properties is one of "mere nomological supervenience." According to Shoemaker, emergent properties are what he calls type-2 microstructural properties, whereas physical properties are type-1 microstructural properties. After highlighting the advantages of viewing emergent properties as a special class of microstructural properties, I show how according to his own (...)
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  • Do the Primary and Secondary Intensions of Phenomenal Concepts Coincide in All Worlds?Robert Schroer - 2013 - Dialectica 67 (4):561-577.
    A slew of conceivability arguments have been given against physicalism. Many physicalists try to undermine these arguments by offering accounts of phenomenal concepts that explain how there can be an epistemic gap, but not an ontological gap, between the phenomenal and the physical. Some complain, however, that such accounts fail to do justice to the nature of our introspective grasp of phenomenal properties. A particularly influential version of this complaint comes from David Chalmers (1996; 2003), who claims, in opposition to (...)
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  • Kim's Supervenience Argument and the Nature of Total Realizers.Douglas Keaton - 2012 - European Journal of Philosophy 20 (2):243-259.
    Abstract: I offer a novel objection to Jaegwon Kim's Supervenience Argument. I argue that the Supervenience Argument relies upon an untenable conception of the base physical properties upon which mental properties are supposed to supervene: the base properties are required to be both ordinary physical/causal properties and also unconditionally sufficient for the properties that they subvene. But these requirements are mutually exclusive; as a result, at least two premises in the Supervenience Argument are false. I argue that this has disruptive (...)
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  • Can an Appeal to Constitution Solve the Exclusion Problem?Alyssa Ney - 2007 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 88 (4):486–506.
    Jaegwon Kim has argued that unless mental events are reducible to subvening physical events, they are at best overdeterminers of their effects. Recently, nonreductive physicalists have endorsed this consequence claiming that the relationship between mental events and their physical bases is tight enough to render any such overdetermination nonredundant, and hence benign. I focus on instances of this strategy that appeal to the notion of constitution. Ultimately, I argue that there is no way to understand the relationship between irreducible mental (...)
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  • Mechanisms and Explanatory Realization Relations.Thomas W. Polger - 2010 - Synthese 177 (2):193 - 212.
    My topic is the confluence of two recently active philosophical research programs. One research program concerns the metaphysics of realization. The other research program concerns scientific explanation in terms of mechanisms. In this paper I introduce a distinction between descriptive and explanatory approaches to realization. I then use this distinction to argue that a well-known account of realization, due to Carl Gillett, is incompatible with a well-known account of mechanistic explanation, due to Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden, and Carl Craver (MDC, (...)
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  • Supervenience Physicalism, Emergentism, and the Polluted Supervenience Base.Kevin Morris - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (2):351-365.
    A prominent objection to supervenience physicalism is that a definition of physicalism in terms of supervenience allows for physicalism to be compatible with nonphysicalist outlooks, such as certain forms of emergentism. I take as my starting point a recent defense of supervenience physicalism from this objection. According to this line of thought, the subvenient base for emergent properties cannot be said to be purely physical; rather, it is “polluted” with emergent features in virtue of necessarily giving rise to them. Thus, (...)
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  • Properties, Powers, and the Subset Account of Realization.Paul Audi - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (3):654-674.
    According to the subset account of realization, a property, F, is realized by another property, G, whenever F is individuated by a non-empty proper subset of the causal powers by which G is individuated (and F is not a conjunctive property of which G is a conjunct). This account is especially attractive because it seems both to explain the way in which realized properties are nothing over and above their realizers, and to provide for the causal efficacy of realized properties. (...)
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  • How to Rule Out Disjunctive Properties.Paul Audi - 2013 - Noûs 47 (4):748-766.
    Are there disjunctive properties? This question is important for at least two reasons. First, disjunctive properties are invoked in defense of certain philosophical theories, especially in the philosophy of mind. Second, the question raises the prior issue of what counts as a genuine property, a central concern in the metaphysics of properties. I argue here, on the basis of general considerations in the metaphysics of properties, that there are no disjunctive properties. Specifically, I argue that genuine properties must guarantee similarity-in-a-respect (...)
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  • Two Kinds of Role Property.Douglas Keaton - 2010 - Philosophia 38 (4):773-788.
    The realization relation is commonly explicated via, or identified with, the causal role playing relation. However, the realization relation does not formally match the causal role playing relation. While realization is a relation between a base realizer property and a single higher level realized property, I argue that the causal role playing relation as typically defined is a relation between a base property and two higher-level role properties. Advocates of using causal role playing to explicate realization must therefore decide which (...)
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  • Response-Dependence About Aesthetic Value.Michael Watkins & James Shelley - 2012 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (3):338-352.
    The dominant view about the nature of aesthetic value holds it to be response-dependent. We believe that the dominance of this view owes largely to some combination of the following prevalent beliefs: 1 The belief that challenges brought against response-dependent accounts in other areas of philosophy are less challenging when applied to response-dependent accounts of aesthetic value. 2 The belief that aesthetic value is instrumental and that response-dependence about aesthetic value alone accommodates this purported fact. 3 The belief that response-dependence (...)
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  • Kim’s Dilemma: Why Mental Causation is Not Productive.Andrew Russo - 2015 - Synthese.
    Barry Loewer (2001, 2002, 2007) has argued that the nonreductive physicalist should respond to the exclusion problem by endorsing the overdetermination entailed by their view. Jaegwon Kim’s (2005, 2007) argument against this reply is based on the premise that mental causation is a productive relation involving the “flow” or “transfer” of some conserved quantity from cause to effect. In this paper, I challenge this premise by appealing to the underlying double prevention structure of the physiological mechanisms of human action. Since (...)
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  • Grounding Mental Causation.Thomas Kroedel & Moritz Schulz - 2016 - Synthese 193 (6):1909-1923.
    This paper argues that the exclusion problem for mental causation can be solved by a variant of non-reductive physicalism that takes the mental not merely to supervene on, but to be grounded in, the physical. A grounding relation between events can be used to establish a principle that links the causal relations of grounded events to those of grounding events. Given this principle, mental events and their physical grounds either do not count as overdetermining physical effects, or they do so (...)
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  • A Posteriori Primitivism.Michael Watkins - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 150 (1):123 - 137.
    Recent criticisms of non-reductive accounts of color assume that the only arguments for such accounts are a priori arguments. I put forward a posteriori arguments for a non-reductive account of colors which avoids those criticisms.
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  • Causal Overdetermination for Humeans?Michael Esfeld - 2010 - Metaphysica 11 (2):99-104.
    The paper argues against systematic overdetermination being an acceptable solution to the problem of mental causation within a Humean counterfactual theory of causation. The truth-makers of the counterfactuals in question include laws of nature, and there are laws that support physical to physical counterfactuals, but no laws in the same sense that support mental to physical counterfactuals.
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  • Convergence on the Problem of Mental Causation: Shoemaker's Strategy for (Nonreductive?) Physicalists.Alyssa Ney - 2010 - Philosophical Issues 20 (1):438-445.
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  • Realization Relations in Metaphysics.Umut Baysan - 2015 - Minds and Machines (3):1-14.
    “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 (...)
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  • Which Are the Genuine Properties?Bradley Rives - 2015 - Metaphilosophy 46 (1):104-126.
    This article considers three views about which properties are genuine. According to the first view, we should look to successful commonsense and scientific explanations in determining which properties are genuine. On this view, predicates that figure in such explanations thereby pick out genuine properties. According to the second view, the only predicates that pick out genuine properties are those that figure in our best scientific explanations. On this view, predicates that figure in commonsense explanations pick out genuine properties only if (...)
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  • Against Strong Pluralism.Harold Noonan - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (4):1081-1087.
    Strong pluralists hold that not even permanent material coincidence is enough for identity. Strong pluralism entails the possibility of purely material objects -- even if not coincident -- alike in all general respects, categorial and dispositional, relational and non-relational, past, present and future, at the microphysical level, but differing in some general modal, counterfactual or dispositional repscts at the macrophysical level. It is objectionable because it thus deprives us of the explanatory resources to explain why evident absurdities are absurd. A (...)
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  • Shoemaker's Analysis of Realization: A Review.David Pineda & Agustín Vicente - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (1):97-120.
    Sydney Shoemaker has been arguing for more than a decade for an account of the mind–body problem in which the notion of realization takes centre stage. His aim is to provide a notion of realization that is consistent with the multiple realizability of mental properties or events, and which explains: how the physical grounds the mental; and why the causal work of mental events is not screened off by that of physical events. Shoemaker's proposal consists of individuating properties in terms (...)
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  • Constitution, and Multiple Constitution, in the Sciences: Using the Neuron to Construct a Starting Framework. [REVIEW]Carl Gillett - 2013 - Minds and Machines 23 (3):309-337.
    Inter-level mechanistic explanations in the sciences have long been a focus of philosophical interest, but attention has recently turned to the compositional character of these explanations which work by explaining higher level entities, whether processes, individuals or properties, using the lower level entities they take to compose them. However, we still have no theoretical account of the constitution or parthood relations between individuals deployed in such explanations, nor any accounts of multiple constitution. My primary focus in this paper is to (...)
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  • The Causal Criterion of Property Identity and the Subtraction of Powers.Sophie C. Gibb - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (1):127-146.
    According to one popular criterion of property identity, where X and Y are properties, X is identical with Y if and only if X and Y bestow the same conditional powers on their bearers. In this paper, I argue that this causal criterion of property identity is unsatisfactory, because it fails to provide a sufficient condition for the identification of properties. My argument for this claim is based on the observation that the summing of properties does not entail the summing (...)
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  • Disproportional Mental Causation.Justin T. Tiehen - 2011 - Synthese 182 (3):375-391.
    In this paper I do three things. First, I argue that Stephen Yablo’s influential account of mental causation is susceptible to counterexamples involving what I call disproportional mental causation. Second, I argue that similar counterexamples can be generated for any alternative account of mental causation that is like Yablo’s in that it takes mental states and their physical realizers to causally compete. Third, I show that there are alternative nonreductive approaches to mental causation which reject the idea of causal competition, (...)
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  • Determinable Properties and Overdetermination of Causal Powers.Jonas Christensen - 2014 - Philosophia 42 (3):695-711.
    Do determinable properties such as colour, mass, and height exist in addition to their corresponding determinates, being red, having a mass of 1 kilogram, and having a height of 2 metres? Optimists say yes, pessimists say no. Among the latter are Carl Gillett and Bradley Rives who argue that optimism leads to systematic overdetermination of causal powers and hence should be rejected on the grounds that the position is ontologically unparsimonious. In this paper I defend optimism against this charge by (...)
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  • Functionalism, Superduperfunctionalism, and Physicalism: Lessons From Supervenience.Ronald Endicott - 2016 - Synthese 193 (7):2205-2235.
    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 (...)
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  • Comments on Sydney Shoemaker’s Physical Realization.Andrew Melnyk - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 148 (1):113-123.
    This paper concerns Sydney Shoemaker's view, presented in his book, Physical Realization (Oxford University Press, 2007), of how mental properties are realized by physical properties. That view aims to avoid the "too many minds" problem to which he seems to be led by his further view that human persons are not token-identical with their bodies. The paper interprets and criticizes Shoemaker's view.
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  • Miracles and Two Accounts of Scientific Laws.Steven Horst - 2014 - Zygon 49 (2):323-347.
    Since early modernity, it has often been assumed that miracles are incompatible with the existence of the natural laws utilized in the sciences. This paper argues that this assumption is largely an artifact of empiricist accounts of laws that should be rejected for reasons internal to philosophy of science, and that no such incompatibility arises on the most important alternative interpretations, which treat laws as expressions of forces, dispositions, or causal powers.
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  • Overdetermination Underdetermined.Sara Bernstein - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (1):17-40.
    Widespread causal overdetermination is often levied as an objection to nonreductive theories of minds and objects. In response, nonreductive metaphysicians have argued that the type of overdetermination generated by their theories is different from the sorts of coincidental cases involving multiple rock-throwers, and thus not problematic. This paper pushes back. I argue that attention to differences between types of overdetermination discharges very few explanatory burdens, and that overdetermination is a bigger problem for the nonreductive metaphysician than previously thought.
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  • The Role Functionalist Theory of Absences.Justin Tiehen - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (3):505-519.
    Functionalist theories have been proposed for just about everything: mental states, dispositions, moral properties, truth, causation, and much else. The time has come for a functionalist theory of nothing. Or, more accurately, a role functionalist theory of those absences that are causes and effects.
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