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Need Multiple Realizability Deter the Identity-Theorist?

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Abstract:

I will discuss two possible options how a defender of the type identity-theory with respect to mental properties can avoid the conclusion of Putnam's Multiple Realizability Argument. I begin by offering a rigorous formulation of Putnam's argument, which has been lacking so far in the literature (section 2). This rigorous formulation shows that there are basically two possible options for avoiding the argument's conclusion. Contrary to current mainstream, I reject the first option—Kim's 'local reductionism'—as untenable (section 3). I endorse the second option, which has been brought into discredit by being too closely associated with disjunctive properties. I first show that many of the criticisms of disjunctive properties miss their target or beg the question against their opponent view (sections 4 & 5). Then I argue that it is not necessary to tie the second option closely to disjunctive properties. Hence, even if we deny the legitimacy of disjunctive properties, the identity-theorist still need not accept the conclusion of the Multiple Realizability Argument since there is an alternative, though related, way to spell out the second response (section 6).

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2003

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