Multiple Realization and Robustness

  • Worth (Trey) Boone
Part of the History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences book series (HPTL, volume 23)


Multiple realization has traditionally been characterized as a thesis about the relation between kinds posited by the taxonomic systems of different sciences. In this paper, I argue that there are good reasons to move beyond this framing. I begin by showing how the traditional framing is tied to positivist models of explanation and reduction and proceed to develop an alternate framing that operates instead within causal explanatory frameworks. I draw connections between this account and the notion of functional robustness in biology and neuroscience. I then examine two cases from systems neuroscience that substantiate my account and show how traditional debates fail to track important features of these cases.


Multiple realization Functions Natural kinds Explanation Reduction 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Worth (Trey) Boone
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of History and Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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