Thomas W. Polger and Lawrence A. Shapiro offer the first full investigation of multiple realization—the idea that minds can be realized in ways other than the human brain. They cast doubt on the hypothesis and offer an alternative framework for understanding explanations in the cognitive sciences, and in chemistry, biology, and related fields.
- Essential reading for philosophers and scientists working on mind and brain
- Illuminated by case studies from recent scientific results
- Presents the historical and philosophical context of the debate
- Clearly organised, and concise
- Includes a Guide for Teaching and Learning, comprising of questions to prompt and direct discussion, and suggestions for additional reading
About the Author(s)
Thomas W. Polger, University of Cincinnati, and Lawrence A. Shapiro, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Thomas Polger received his PhD in philosophy from Duke University in 2000, and joined the faculty of the University of Cincinnati in the same year. His previous book, Natural Minds, was a defense of the mind-brain identity theory. He is the author of numerous articles in philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, and metaphysics. Polger is also a past-president of the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology.
Lawrence Shapiro received his PhD in philosophy
from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 and has been on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin since 1993. He has published numerous articles and several books on a range of topics within philosophy of psychology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of cognitive science.
"This book is a very welcome addition to the literature, and should be essential reading for anyone accepting widespread multiple realisation by default." - Anders Strand (Universitetet i Oslo), The Journal, International Studies in the Philosophy of Science
"By offering an original recipe of multiple realization as such, Polger and Shapiro carry out an impressive task in debunking nearly all well-known (and also some less known) putative examples of multiple realization ... this is a beautiful book and I very much enjoyed reading it. Polger and Shapiro's writing is clear and engaging, and their presentation of philosophical problems and scientific cases is very illuminating. From the opening page, they make it clear that they see 'philosophy of mind as a species of philosophy of science', and the result is a very nice and empirically informed philosophy of science book." - Umut Baysan,
"Even if you would not buy the ultimate message of the book, it still contains plenty of valuable material and enlightening critical analyses of various aspects of the multiple realization thesis. This is an important book, and neither friends nor foes of multiple realization can afford to ignore it." - Tuomas K. Pernu, Metapsychology Online Reviews
"Indeed, their book represents the best of what philosophy should be - a deep questioning, with considered argument, about what was once thought to be a largely settled matter... Polger and Shapiro also pay close attention to the wide array of evidence that philosophers have cited in support of multiple realization... the book is filled with novel insights." - Ronald Endicott, Metascience
"This welcome book-length venture compiles and expands on previous arguments by the two authors, and presents a strong challenge to what they see as current multiple realization dogma - perhaps 'complacency' is more aptfound throughout the philosophy of the non-fundamental sciences. The book also contains a helpful guide to teaching and learning: every chapter is accompanied by a list of key questions and references for those using the book to navigate the terrain more broadly. Above all, though, the clear prose and accessible examples should engage a diverse readership." - Marion Godman, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
"This book nicely brings together work that has had substantial impact on the way philosophers view the relative merits of functionalism and type-identity theory—and should be of interest to philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists, both beginning and advanced. And if it raises questions that generate a "third wave" of debate and inquiry, then this is progress indeed." - Janet Levin, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews