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4.6b. Realization (Realization on PhilPapers)

See also:
Craver, Carl F. & Wilson, Robert A. (2006). Realization. In P. Thagard (ed.), Handbook of the Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science. Elsevier.   (Google)
Abstract: For the greater part of the last 50 years, it has been common for philosophers of mind and cognitive scientists to invoke the notion of realization in discussing the relationship between the mind and the brain. In traditional philosophy of mind, mental states are said to be realized, instantiated, or implemented in brain states. Artificial intelligence is sometimes described as the attempt either to model or to actually construct systems that realize some of the same psychological abilities that we and other living creatures possess. The claim that specific psychological
de Muynck, Willem M. (2003). Wide physical realization. Inquiry 46 (1):97-111.   (Google)
Endicott, Ronald P. (2005). Multiple Realizability. In D. Borchert (ed.), Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition. Thomson Gale, Macmillan Reference.   (Google)
Abstract: Multiple realizability has been at the heart of debates about whether the mind reduces to the brain, or whether the items of a special science reduce to the items of a physical science. I analyze the two central notions implied by the concept of multiple realizability: "multiplicity," otherwise known as property variability, and "realizability." Beginning with the latter, I distinguish three broad conceptual traditions. The Mathematical Tradition equates realization with a form of mapping between objects. Generally speaking, x realizes (or is the realization of) y because elements of y map onto elements of x. The Logico-Semantic Tradition translates realization into a kind of intentional or semantic notion. Generally speaking, x realizes (or is the realization of) a term or concept y because x can be interpreted to meet the conditions for satisfying y. The Metaphysical Tradition views realization as a species of determination between objects. Generally speaking, x realizes (or is the realization of) y because x brings about or determines y. I then turn to the subject of property variability and define it in a formal way. I then conclude by discussing some debates over property identity and scientific theory reduction where the resulting notion of multiple realizability has played a central role, for example, whether the nonreductive consequences of multiple realizability can be circumvented by scientific theories framed in terms of narrow domain-specific properties, or wide disjunctive properties.
Endicott, Ronald P. (2010). Realization, reductios, and category inclusion. Journal of Philosophy 107 (4).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Thomas Polger and Laurence Shapiro argue that Carl Gillett's much publicized dimensioned theory of realization is incoherent, being subject to a reductio. Their argument turns on the fact that Gillett's definition of realization makes property instances the exclusive relata of the realization relation, while his belief in multiple realization implies its denial, namely, that properties are the relata of the realization relation on occasions of multiple realization. Others like Sydney Shoemaker have also expressed their view of realization in terms of property instances, yet they too have accepted the multiple realizability of properties. Thus I am interested in the more general issue raised by Polger and Shapiro's argument. Specifically, I show how to supplement a theory of realization with a category-inclusive auxiliary assumption, which avoids the stated reductio. I then offer a few reasons to justify the proposed category-inclusive view of realization, making some comparisons to supervenience and causation along the way.
Francescotti, Robert M. (2002). Understanding physical realization (and what it does not entail). Journal of Mind and Behavior 23 (3):279-292.   (Google)
Gillett, Carl (2002). The dimensions of realization: A critique of the standard view. Analysis 62 (4):316-323.   (Cited by 15 | Google | More links)
Gillett, Carl (2003). The metaphysics of realization, multiple realizability, and the special sciences. Journal of Philosophy 100 (11):591-603.   (Cited by 11 | Google | More links)
Haug, Matthew C. (2007). Of mice and metaphysics: Natural selection and realized population‐level properties. Philosophy of Science 74 (4).   (Google)
Abstract: In this paper, I answer a fundamental question facing any view according to which natural selection is a population‐level causal process—namely, how is the causal process of natural selection related to, yet not preempted by, causal processes that occur at the level of individual organisms? Without an answer to this grounding question, the population‐level causal view appears unstable—collapsing into either an individual‐level causal interpretation or the claim that selection is a purely formal, statistical phenomenon. I argue that a causal account of realization provides an answer to the grounding question. By applying this account of realization to the natural selection of melanism in rock pocket mice, I show how an alternative, formal account of realization, favored by proponents of the statistical interpretation, misses biologically important features. More generally, this paper shows how metaphysical issues about realization normally discussed in the philosophy of mind apply to debates in philosophy of biology. Thus, it is a first step toward fleshing out the oft‐noted similarities between debates in these areas
Haug, Matthew C. (forthcoming). Realization, determination, and mechanisms. Philosophical Studies.   (Google)
Abstract: Several philosophers (e.g., Ehring (Nous (Detroit, Mich.) 30:461–480, 1996 ); Funkhouser (Nous (Detroit, Mich.) 40:548–569, 2006 ); Walter (Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37:217–244, 2007 ) have argued that there are metaphysical differences between the determinable-determinate relation and the realization relation between mental and physical properties. Others have challenged this claim (e.g., Wilson (Philosophical Studies, 2009 ). In this paper, I argue that there are indeed such differences and propose a “mechanistic” account of realization that elucidates why these differences hold. This account of realization incorporates two distinct roles that mechanisms play in the realization of mental (and other special science) properties which are implicit, but undeveloped, in the literature—what I call “constitutive” and “integrative” mechanisms. I then use these two notions of mechanism to clarify some debates about the relations between realization, multiple realizability, and irreducibility
Hendel, Giovanna (2001). Realization. Critica 33 (98):41-70.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Hofmann, Frank (2007). Causal powers, realization, and mental causation. Erkenntnis 67 (2).   (Google)
Abstract: Sydney Shoemaker has attempted to save mental causation by a new account of realization. As Brian McLaughlin argues convincingly, the account has to face two major problems. First, realization does not guarantee entailment. So even if mental properties are realized by physical properties, they need not be entailed by them. This is the first, rather general metaphysical problem. A second problem, which relates more directly to mental causation is that Shoemaker must appeal to some kind of proportionality as a constraint on causation in order to avoid redundant mental causation. I argue that, in addition, a “piling problem” arises, since causal powers seem to be bestowed twice. Then, I try to sketch an alternative view of the relation between causal powers and properties—a reductionist view—which fares better on some accounts. But it may have to face another and, perhaps, serious problem, the “problem of the natural unity of properties”. Finally, I will pose a question about the relation between causal powers and causation
Levine, Joseph & Trogdon, Kelly (2009). The modal status of materialism. Philosophical Studies 145 (3).   (Google)
Abstract: Materialism, as traditionally conceived, has a contingent side and a necessary side. The necessity of materialism is reflected by the metaphysics of realization, while its contingency is a matter of accepting the possibility of Cartesian worlds, worlds in which our minds are roughly as Descartes describes them. In this paper we argue that the necessity and the contingency of materialism are in conflict. In particular, we claim that if mental properties are realized by physical properties in the actual world, Cartesian worlds are impossible
McLaughlin, Brian P. (2007). Mental causation and Shoemaker-realization. Erkenntnis 67 (2).   (Google)
Abstract: Sydney Shoemaker has proposed a new definition of `realization’ and used it to try to explain how mental events can be causes within the framework of a non-reductive physicalism. I argue that it is not actually his notion of realization that is doing the work in his account of mental causation, but rather the assumption that certain physical properties entail mental properties that do not entail them. I also point out how his account relies on certain other controversial assumptions, including analytical filler-functionalism for mental properties, and the assumption that causes must be proportional to their effects. I conclude by pointing out that Shoemaker has provided no explanation of why, on his view, certain physical properties entail mental properties
Opie, Jonathan (1998). Connectionist modelling strategies. Psycoloquy 9 (30).   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Green offers us two options: either connectionist models are literal models of brain activity or they are mere instruments, with little or no ontological significance. According to Green, only the first option renders connectionist models genuinely explanatory. I think there is a third possibility. Connectionist models are not literal models of brain activity, but neither are they mere instruments. They are abstract, IDEALISED models of the brain that are capable of providing genuine explanations of cognitive phenomena
Opie, Jonathan & O'Brien, Gerard (2006). How do connectionist networks compute? Cognitive Processing 7 (1):30-41.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Although connectionism is advocated by its proponents as an alternative to the classical computational theory of mind, doubts persist about its _computational_ credentials. Our aim is to dispel these doubts by explaining how connectionist networks compute. We first develop a generic account of computation—no easy task, because computation, like almost every other foundational concept in cognitive science, has resisted canonical definition. We opt for a characterisation that does justice to the explanatory role of computation in cognitive science. Next we examine what might be regarded as the “conventional” account of connectionist computation. We show why this account is inadequate and hence fosters the suspicion that connectionist networks aren’t genuinely computational. Lastly, we turn to the principal task of the paper: the development of a more robust portrait of connectionist computation. The basis of this portrait is an explanation of the representational capacities of connection weights, supported by an analysis of the weight configurations of a series of simulated neural networks
Polger, Thomas W. (2004). Neural machinery and realization. Philosophy of Science 71 (5):997-1006.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The view that the relationship between minds and brains can be thought of on the model of software and hardware is pervasive. The most common versions of the view, known as functionalism in philosophy of mind, hold that minds are realized by brains
Polger, Thomas W. (2007). Realization and the metaphysics of mind. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):233 – 259.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: According to the received view in philosophy of mind, mental states or properties are _realized_ by brain states or properties but are not identical to them. This view is often called _realization_ _physicalism_. Carl Gillett has recently defended a detailed formulation of the realization relation. However, Gillett’s formulation cannot be the relation that realization physicalists have in mind. I argue that Gillett’s “dimensioned” view of realization fails to apply to a textbook case of realization. I also argue Gillett counts as realization some cases that should not count if realization physicalism is to be distinguished from its competitors in the usual ways. I conclude that the relation described by Gillett cannot be realization
Shoemaker, Sydney (2007). Physical Realization. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Shoemaker, Sydney (2003). Realization, micro-realization, and coincidence. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (1):1-23.   (Cited by 12 | Google | More links)
Trogdon, Kelly (2009). Physicalsim and sparse ontology. Philosophical Studies 143 (2):147-165.   (Google)
Abstract: A major stumbling block for non-reductive physicalism is Kim’s disjunctive property objection. In this paper I bring certain issues in sparse ontology to bear on the objection, in particular the theses of priority monism and priority pluralism. Priority pluralism (or something close to it, anyway) is a common ontological background assumption, so in the first part of the paper I consider whether the disjunctive property objection applies with equal force to non-reductive physicalism on the assumption that priority monism is instead true. I ultimately conclude that non-reductive physicalism still faces a comparable problem. In the second part, I argue, surprisingly enough, that what I call ‘fine-grained reductionism’, a particular version of which Kim proposes as an alternative to non-reductive physicalism, may work better in the monist framework than the pluralist one. I conclude that issues in sparse ontology, therefore, are more relevant to the debate about physicalism than one may have thought
Vicente, Agustín (2001). Realization, determination and mental causation. Theoria 16 (40):77-94.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Wilson, Jessica M. (2009). Determination, realization and mental causation. Philosophical Studies 145 (1):149--169.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: How can mental properties bring about physical effects, as they seem to do, given that the physical realizers of the mental goings-on are already sufficient to cause these effects? This question gives rise to the problem of mental causation (MC) and its associated threats of causal overdetermination, mental causal exclusion, and mental causal irrelevance. Some (e.g., Cynthia and Graham Macdonald, and Stephen Yablo) have suggested that understanding mental-physical realization in terms of the determinable/determinate relation (henceforth, ‘determination’) provides the key to solving the problem of MC: if mental properties are determinables of their physical realizers, then (since determinables and determinates are distinct, yet don’t causally compete) all three threats may be avoided. Not everyone agrees that determination can do this good work, however. Some (e.g., Douglas Ehring, Eric Funkhauser, and Sven Walter) object that mental-physical realization can’t be determination, since such realization lacks one or other characteristic feature of determination. I argue that on a proper understanding of the features of determination key to solving the problem of MC these arguments can be resisted
Wilson, Robert A. (2004). Realization: Metaphysics, Mind, and Science. Philosophy of Science 71 (5):985-996.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: For the greater part of the last 50 years, it has been common for philosophers of mind and cognitive scientists to invoke the notion of realization in discussing the relationship between the mind and the brain. In traditional philosophy of mind, mental states are said to be realized, instantiated, or implemented in brain states. Artificial intelligence is sometimes described as the attempt either to model or to actually construct systems that realize some of the same psychological abilities that we and other living creatures possess. The claim that specific psychological..
Wilson, Robert A. (2004). Realization: Metaphysics, mind, and science. Philosophy of Science 71 (5):985-996.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper surveys some recent work on realization in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of science
Wilson, Robert A. (2001). Two views of realization. Philosophical Studies 104 (1):1-31.   (Cited by 16 | Google | More links)
Abstract:   This paper examines the standard view of realization operative incontemporary philosophy of mind, and proposes an alternative, generalperspective on realization. The standard view can be expressed, insummary form, as the conjunction of two theses, the sufficiency thesis andthe constitutivity thesis. Physicalists of both reductionist and anti-reductionist persuasions share a conception of realization wherebyrealizations are determinative of the properties they realize and physically constitutive of the individuals with those properties. Centralto the alternative view that I explore here is the idea that the requisite,metaphysically robust notion of realization is ineliminably context-sensitive. I shall argue that the sufficiency and constitutivity theses aretypically not jointly satisfied by any one candidate realizer, and that goingcontext-sensitive in one's metaphysics is preferable to the standard view.The context-sensitive views developed here are implicit in a range ofcommon views in both the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of biology,even if they have not been explicitly articulated, and even though theyundermine other views that are commonly endorsed
Wrenn, Chase B. (forthcoming). The Unreality of Realization. Australasian Journal of Philosophy.   (Google)
Abstract: This paper argues against the realization principle, which reifies the realization relation between lower-level and higher-level properties. It begins with a review of some principles of naturalistic metaphysics. Then it criticizes some likely reasons for embracing the realization principle, and finally it argues against the principle directly. The most likely reasons for embracing the principle depend on the dubious assumption that special science theories cannot be true unless special science predicates designate properties. The principle itself turns out to be false because the realization relation fails the naturalistic test for reality: it makes no causal difference to the world.