Psychology As A Science: Kim's Argument And Why It Is Flawed

2078 words - 9 pages

Jaegwon Kim thinks that multiple realizability of mental properties would bring about the conclusion that psychology is most likely not a science. Several functionalists, specially, Fodor, take up the opposing stance to Kim, supporting that the multiple realizability of mental states is one of the reasons why psychology is an autonomous and justifiable science. Essentially, Kim think that in order for mental states to be multiply realizable then psychology must be fundamentally broken; with human psychology encompassing properties realized for humans and alien psychology encompassing those mental states realized in the alien way etc. I will demonstrate that even if one supports and allows ...view middle of the document...

By attacking his principle of Casual Individuation of Kinds I will show that Kim has failed to find the correct conclusion. Furthermore, I will consider a possible objection that Kim might have to my stance and give a short rebuttle. I will conclude by explicating Jerry Fodor’s account of what is Kim’s essential problem is. By showing that Kim’s conclusion fails it will entail that Fodor’s conclusion is more viable in reality.
In Kim’s 1992 publication he argued that is mental properties are multiply realized then they essentially cannot be casual properties and therefore, they cannot be scientific. From this notion, he cannot allow there to be psychological laws nor can there be any kind of psychological theory either. Kim think that we can anticipate that there are many distinct and local psych theories. There will be several psychologies, one for human, one for aliens, one for elephants and so on. He concludes that it is impossible to have one psychological theory that reins over all species. Kim substantiates that only laws of physics can be universally applied to everything. He also states that economics, biology, chemistry and sociology will fall prey to the same faults as psychology does. It seems that to respond to Kim we must consider a multitude of scientific and philosophical issues.
Kim’s essential argument relies on two different metaphysical principles. Firstly, he presents the ‘Casual Individuation of Kinds’ principle that states that kinds in science are individuated on the foundation of casual powers (Kim, 1992. p.17). Secondly, Kim gives us the ‘Casual Inheritance’ principle that states that if a mental state M is realized in a system at t in virtue of physical realization base P, the causal powers of this instance of M are identical with the causal powers of P, (Kim, 1992. p.18). Kim states that the first principle is, “plausible,” and, “widely accepted,” (Kim ,1992. p.17). If we attempt to deny the second principle Kim believes that we can only do so if we accept that casual powers spontaneously emerge at a high-level and there is no accounting in terms of lower-level properties and their casual powers and nomic connections (Kim, 1992. p.18). Accepting both of these principles is not an issue I am concerned with, what intrigues me is whether accepting these two principles forces us to conclude that psychology is not a sufficient science.
Kim uses these principles to support his main argument, which states with assuming that multiple realizability is indeed possible. The argument proceeds as such: There is a Mental kind M that is multiply realized by a distinct physical kind Ph and Pa. By the Casual Individuation principle, the casual powers of Ph must be different from the casual powers of Pa. Due to the Casual Inheritance principle; the mental state Ph realizations cannot have identical casual powers as the mental state realizations of Pa. From this we can assume that Ph and Pa cannot realize the same mental...

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