Universität Wien FIND

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Further information about on-site teaching can be found at https://studieren.univie.ac.at/en/info.

180215 PS Multiple Realization (2020W)

Reductionism and Beyond

4.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 18 - Philosophie
Continuous assessment of course work



max. 45 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Teaching and course assignments will take place online as long as the Covid-19 crisis continues.

Wednesday 14.10. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 21.10. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 28.10. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 04.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 11.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 18.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 25.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 02.12. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 09.12. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 16.12. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 13.01. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 20.01. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 27.01. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

The multiple realizability thesis, as introduced by Hilary Putnam in the 1960's and later developed by other philosophers, has become one of the most influential antireductionist arguments in contemporary analytic philosophy. However, its validity has recently been contested on several fronts. The course surveys and critically examines the history and recent debates surrounding multiple realizability. The aim is to use this rich argumentative context to assess question related not only to reductionism, but also further topics in the philosophy of mind, metaphysics and philosophy of science, including modality, explanation and the nature and testing of philosophical theories.

Methods include close reading and critical discussion of the literature (concepts, themes, arguments), written reflections and Q&A of the articles in Moodle, and a thesis-oriented essay.

Assessment and permitted materials

1. Active participation to the seminar, including e-learning assignments (30%)
2. Moodle Q&A before each meeting, including e-learning assignments (30%)
3. A thesis-oriented essay at the end of the seminar (40%)

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

1. Active participation to the seminar (80% minimum).
2. Readings and assignments: Weekly readings before the classes accompanied by a discussion board in Moodle where each student should contribute before weekly deadlines.
3. A short thesis-oriented final essay in English on a topic relevant to the course readings (c. 2000 words). Further instructions will be provided in Moodle.

Examination topics

Reading list

Thomas Polger & Lawrence Shapiro, The Multiple Realization Book, OUP 2016. Selected journal articles (accessed through Moodle).

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Tu 06.10.2020 10:29