Multiple realization by compensatory differences

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


One way that scientifically recognized properties are multiply realized is by "compensatory differences" among realizing properties. If a property G is jointly realized by two properties F1 and F 2, then G can be multiply realized by having changes in the property F1 offset changes in the property F2. In some cases, there are scientific laws that articulate how distinct combinations of physical quantities can determine one and the same value of some other physical quantity. One moral to draw is that in such cases we have the multiple realization of a single determinate, "fine grained" property instance that is exactly similar to another instance. As simple as this moral is, it has ramifications for a number of recent discussions of multiple realization in science. Taken collectively, these ramifications indicate that multiple realization by compensatory adjustments merits greater attention in the philosophy of science literature than it has hitherto received.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-86
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal for Philosophy of Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History and Philosophy of Science


  • Dimensioned realization
  • Mechanistic explanation
  • Multiple realization
  • Realization


Dive into the research topics of 'Multiple realization by compensatory differences'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this