•  6
    Scientific Composition and Metaphysical Ground (edited book)
    with Ken Aizawa
    Palgrave-Macmillan. 2016.
    Part I -- Scientific Composition and the New Mechanism. - 1. Laura Franklin-Hall: New Mechanistic Explanation and the Need for Explanatory Constraints. - 2. Kenneth Aizawa: Compositional Explanation: Dimensioned Realization, New Mechanism, and Ground. - 3. Jens Harbecke: Is Mechanistic Constitution a Version of Material Constitution?. - 4. Derk Pereboom: Anti-Reductionism, Anti-Rationalism, and the Material Constitution of the Mental. Part II -- Grounding, Science, and Verticality in Nature. - 5…Read more
  •  35
    Biologists seems to hold two fundamental beliefs: Organisms are organized into levels and the individuals at these levels differ in their properties. Together these suggest that there will be massive multiple realization, i.e. that many human psychological properties are multiply realized at many neurobiological levels. This paper provides some documentation in support of this suggestion.
  •  153
    The autonomy of psychology in the age of neuroscience
    with Ken Aizawa
    In Phyllis McKay Illari Federica Russo (ed.), Causality in the Sciences, Oxford University Press. pp. 202--223. 2011.
    Sometimes neuroscientists discover distinct realizations for a single psychological property. In considering such cases, some philosophers have maintained that scientists will abandon the single multiply realized psychological property in favor of one or more uniquely realized psychological properties. In this paper, we build on the Dimensioned theory of realization and a companion theory of multiple realization to argue that this is not the case. Whether scientists postulate unique realizati…Read more
  •  32
    Defending pluralism about compositional explanations
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 78 101202. 2019.
    In the New Mechanist literature, most attention has focused on the compositional explanation of processes/activities of wholes by processes/activities of their parts. These are sometimes called “constitutive mechanistic explanations.” In this paper, we defend moving beyond this focus to a Pluralism about compositional explanation by highlighting two additional species of such explanations. We illuminate both Analytic compositional explanations that explain a whole using a compositional relatio…Read more
  •  112
    Strong Emergence as a Defese of Non-Reductive Physicalism
    Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 6 (1): 87-120. 2002.
    Jaegwon Kim, and others, have recently posed a powerful challenge to both emergentism and nom-reductive physicalism by providing arguments that these positions are committed to an untenable combination of both ‘upward’ and ‘dounward’ determination. In section 1, I illuminate how the nature of the realization relation underlies such skeptical arguments However, in section 2, I suggest that such conclusions involve a confusion between the implications of physicalism and those of a related thesis t…Read more
  •  10
    Hyper-Extending the Mind?: Setting Boundaries in the Special Sciences
    Philosophical Topics 35 (1/2): 161-187. 2007.
  •  80
    Does the Argument from Realization Generalize? Responses to Kim
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 39 (1): 79-98. 2001.
    By quantifying over properties we cannot create new properties any more than by quantifying over individuals we can create new individuals. Someone murdered Jones, and the murderer is either Smith or Jones or Wang. That “someone”, who murdered Jones, is not a person in addition to Smith, Jones, and Wang, and it would be absurd to posit a disjunctive person, Smith-or-Jones-or-Wang, with whom to identify the murderer. The same goes for second-order properties and their realizers. (Kim (1997a), p.2…Read more
  • Naturalization: Scientific Theory Appraisal and the Warrant of Physicalism
    Dissertation, Rutgers the State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick. 1997.
    My thesis addresses the status of 'naturalizations' of intentionality and the recent debate about their importance. After formulating an account of scientific theory appraisal I argue, contrary to recent critics of naturalization, that there is a place for the use of 'interlevel' properties in assessing scientific theories, but that this takes a more modest form than that assumed by the physicalist proponents of naturalization. Although I argue that we should be agnostic about the truth of the p…Read more
  •  148
    Infinitism redux? A response to Klein
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (3). 2003.
    Foundationalist, Coherentist, Skeptic etc., have all been united in one respect--all accept epistemic justification cannot result from an unending, and non-repeating, chain of reasons. Peter Klein has recently challenged this minimal consensus with a defense of what he calls "Infinitism"--the position that justification can result from such a regress. Klein provides surprisingly convincing responses to most of the common objections to Infinitism, but I will argue that he fails to address a vener…Read more
  •  12
    Infinitism Redux? A Response to Klein
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (3): 709-717. 2003.
    Foundationalist, Coherentist, Skeptic etc., have all been united in one respect---all accept epistemic justification cannot result from an unending, and non-repeating, chain of reasons. Peter Klein has recently challenged this minimal consensus with a defense of what he calls “Infinitism”---the position that justification can result from such a regress. Klein provides surprisingly convincing responses to most of the common objections to Infinitism, but I will argue that he fails to address a ven…Read more
  •  95
    A mechanist manifesto for the philosophy of mind: A third way for functionalists
    Journal of Philosophical Research 32 21-42. 2007.
    One of the main early forms of “functionalism,” developed by writers like Jerry Fodor and William Lycan, focused on “mechanistic” explanation in the special sciences and argued that “functional properties” in psychology were continuous in nature with the special science properties posited in such mechanistic explanations. I dub the latter position“Continuity Functionalism” and use it to critically examine the “Standard Picture” of the metaphysics of functionalism which takes “functional” propert…Read more
  •  2
    Over the last century, as Figure 1 graphically illustrates, scientific investigations have given us a detailed account of many natural phenomena, from molecules to manic depression, through so-called
  • Strong Emergence as a Defese of Non-Reductive Physicalism
    Principia: Revista Internacional de Epistemologia 6 (1): 89-120. 2002.
    Jaegwon Kim, and others, have recently posed a powerful challenge to both emergentism and non-reductive physicalism by providing arguments that these positions are committed to an untenable combination of both ‘upward’ and ‘downward’ determination. In section 1, I illuminate how the nature of the realization relation underlies such skeptical arguments. However, in section 2, I suggest that such conclusions involve a confusion between the implications of physicalism and those of a related thesis …Read more
  •  53
    Brains, Neuroscience, and Animalism: On the Implications of Thinking Brains
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (S1): 41-52. 2014.
    The neuroscience revolution has led many scientists to posit “expansive” or “thinking” brains that instantiate rich psychological properties. As a result, some scientists now even claim you are identical to such a brain. However, Eric Olson has offered new arguments that thinking brains cannot exist due to their intuitively “abominable” implications. After situating the commitment to thinking brains in the wider scientific discussions in which they are posited, I then critically assess Olson's a…Read more
  •  1
    Reduction and Emergence in Science and Philosophy
    Cambridge University Press. 2016.
    Grand debates over reduction and emergence are playing out across the sciences, but these debates have reached a stalemate, with both sides declaring victory on empirical grounds. In this book, Carl Gillett provides new theoretical frameworks with which to understand these debates, illuminating both the novel positions of scientific reductionists and emergentists and the recent empirical advances that drive these new views. Gillett also highlights the flaws in existing philosophical frameworks a…Read more
  •  76
    Understanding the 'making-up' relations, to put things neutrally, posited in mechanistic explanations the sciences is finally an explicit topic of debate amongst philosophers of science. In particular, there is now lively debate over the nature of the so-called 'realization' relations between properties posited in such explanations. Despite criticism (Gillett, Analysis 62: 316-323, 2002a), the most common approach continues to be that of applying machinery developed in the philosophy of mind to …Read more
  •  147
    Stephan Blatti claims to have a new line of reasoning using evolutionary theory that resolves arguments over our deeper natures in favor of the Animalist position that we are identical to Homo sapiens organisms. Blatti thus raises an important question about which views of what we are can take us to be evolved. However, in this response I show that Blatti’s argument using evolution is based upon a false assumption about contemporary biology. I highlight how a better understanding of evolutionary…Read more
  •  41
    A Mechanist Manifesto for the Philosophy of Mind
    Journal of Philosophical Research 32 21-42. 2007.
    One of the main early forms of “functionalism,” developed by writers like Jerry Fodor and William Lycan, focused on “mechanistic” explanation in the special sciences and argued that “functional properties” in psychology were continuous in nature with the special science properties posited in such mechanistic explanations. I dub the latter position“Continuity Functionalism” and use it to critically examine the “Standard Picture” of the metaphysics of functionalism which takes “functional” propert…Read more
  •  38
    Symposium on mechanisms in mind
    Journal of Philosophical Research 32 1-2. 2007.
    One of the main early forms of “functionalism,” developed by writers like Jerry Fodor and William Lycan, focused on “mechanistic” explanation in the special sciences and argued that “functional properties” in psychology were continuous in nature with the special science properties posited in such mechanistic explanations. I dub the latter position“Continuity Functionalism” and use it to critically examine the “Standard Picture” of the metaphysics of functionalism which takes “functional” propert…Read more
  • On the implications of scientific composition and completeness
    In Antonella Corradini & Timothy O'Connor (eds.), Emergence in Science and Philosophy, Routledge. pp. 25--45. 2010.
  •  117
    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…Read more