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There is No Question of Physicalism

Mind 99 (394):185-206 (1990)

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  1. Physicalism and Our Knowledge of Intrinsic Properties.Alyssa Ney - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (1):41 – 60.
    that the properties of science are purely extrinsic with the metaphysical principle that substances must also have intrinsic properties, the arguments reach the conclusion that there are intrinsic properties of whose natures we cannot know. It is the goal of this paper to establish that such arguments are not just ironic but extremely problematic. The optimistic physicalist principles that help get the argument off the ground ultimately undermine any justification the premises give for acceptance of the conclusion. Though I do (...)
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  • Interdiscourse or Supervenience Relations: The Primacy of the Manifest Image.J. Brakel - 1996 - Synthese 106 (2):253 - 297.
    Amidst the progress being made in the various (sub-)disciplines of the behavioural and brain sciences a somewhat neglected subject is the problem of how everything fits into one world and, derivatively, how the relation between different levels of discourse should be understood and to what extent different levels, domains, approaches, or disciplines are autonomous or dependent. In this paper I critically review the most recent proposals to specify the nature of interdiscourse relations, focusing on the concept of supervenience. Ideally supervenience (...)
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  • Functionalism and Structuralism as Philosophical Stances: Van Fraassen Meets the Philosophy of Biology.Sandy C. Boucher - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (3):383-403.
    I consider the broad perspectives in biology known as ‘functionalism’ and ‘structuralism’, as well as a modern version of functionalism, ‘adaptationism’. I do not take a position on which of these perspectives is preferable; my concern is with the prior question, how should they be understood? Adapting van Fraassen’s argument for treating materialism as a stance, rather than a factual belief with propositional content, in the first part of the paper I offer an argument for construing functionalism and structuralism as (...)
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  • Mental Causation for Dualists.Paul Pietroski - 1994 - Mind and Language 9 (3):336-366.
    The philosophical problem of mental causation concerns a clash between commonsense and scientific views about the causation of human behaviour. On the one hand, commonsense suggests that our actions are caused by our mental states—our thoughts, intentions, beliefs and so on. On the other hand, neuroscience assumes that all bodily movements are caused by neurochemical events. It is implausible to suppose that our actions are causally overdetermined in the same way that the ringing of a bell may be overdetermined by (...)
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  • Naturalism and Psychological Explanation.Paul K. Moser - 1994 - Philosophical Psychology 7 (1):63-84.
    This article explores the possibility of naturalized theory of action. It distinguishes ontological naturalism from conceptual naturalism, and asks whether a defensible theory of action can be either ontologically or conceptually naturalistic. The distinction between conditions for an ontology and conditions for a concept receives support from Donald Davidson's identification of two modes of explanation for action: rational and physical causal explanation. Davidson's action theory provides a naturalized ontology for action theory, but not a naturalized concept of intentional action. This (...)
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  • Defining Physicalism.Alyssa Ney - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (5):1033-1048.
    This article discusses recent disagreements over the correct formulation of physicalism. Although there appears to be a consensus outside those who discuss the issue that physicalists believe that what exists is what is countenanced by physics, as we will see, this orthodoxy faces an important puzzle now frequently referred to as 'Hempel's Dilemma'. After surveying the historical trajectory from Enlightenment-era materialism to contemporary physicalism, I examine several mainstream approaches that respond to Hempel's dilemma, and the benefits and drawbacks of each.
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  • Physicalism, Teleology and the Miraculous Coincidence Problem.Jonathan Knowles - 1999 - Philosophical Quarterly 49 (195):164-181.
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  • Is There a Fundamental Level?Jonathan Schaffer - 2003 - Noûs 37 (3):498–517.
    ‘‘Thus I believe that there is no part of matter which is not—I do not say divisible—but actually divided; and consequently the least particle ought to be considered as a world full of an infinity of different creatures.’’ (Leibniz, letter to Foucher).
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  • Open Questions and the Manifest Image.Mark Eli Kalderon - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (2):251–289.
    The essay argues that, on their usual metalinguistic reconstructions, the open question argument and Frege’s puzzle are variants of the same argument. Each are arguments to a conclusion about a difference in meaning; each deploy compositionality as a premise; and each deploy a premise linking epistemic features of sentences with their meaning (which, given certain meaning-platonist assumptions, can be interpreted as a universal instantiation of Leibniz’s law). Given these parallels, each is sound just in case the other is. They are, (...)
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  • Two Kinds of Completeness and the Uses (and Abuses) of Exclusion Principles.Matthew C. Haug - 2009 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 47 (4):379-401.
    I argue that the completeness of physics is composed of two distinct claims. The first is the commonly made claim that, roughly, every physical event is completely causally determined by physical events. The second has rarely, if ever, been explicitly stated in the literature and is the claim that microphysics provides a complete inventory of the fundamental categories that constitute both the causal features and intrinsic nature of all the events that causally affect the physical universe. After showing that these (...)
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  • Causal Exclusion and the Preservation of Causal Sufficiency.Anders Strand - 2010 - SATS 11 (2).
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  • Being a Physicalist: How and (More Importantly) Why. [REVIEW]Andrew Melnyk - 1994 - Philosophical Studies 74 (2):221-241.
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  • Quantum Mechanics and the Plight of Physicalism.Fernando Birman - 2009 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 40 (2):207-225.
    The literature on physicalism often fails to elucidate, I think, what the word physical in physical ism precisely means. Philosophers speak at times of an ideal set of fundamental physical facts, or they stipulate that physical means non-mental , such that all fundamental physical facts are fundamental facts pertaining to the non-mental. In this article, I will probe physicalism in the very much tangible framework of quantum mechanics. Although this theory, unlike “ideal physics” or some “final theory of non-mentality”, is (...)
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  • The Psycho-Physical Laws of Intentionality.J. T. Whyte - 1990 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 4 (3):295 – 304.
    Abstract Intentional mental states have causes and effects. Davidson has shown that this fact alone does not entail the existence of psycho?physical laws, but his anomalism makes the connection between the content and causation of intentional states utterly mysterious. By defining intentional states in terms of their causes and effects, functionalism promises to explain this connection. If intentional states have their causes and effects in virtue of their contents, then there must be intrinsic states (of the people who have them) (...)
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  • Non-Reductive Physicalism and the Mind Problem 1.Susan Schneider - 2013 - Noûs 47 (1):135-153.
    Most answers to the mind-body problem are claims about the nature of mental properties and substances. But advocates of non-reductive physicalism have generally neglected the topic of the nature of substance, quickly nodding to the view that all substances are physical, while focusing their intellectual energy on understanding how mental properties relate to physical ones. Let us call the view that all substances are physical or are exhaustively composed of physical substances substance physicalism (SP). Herein, I argue that non-reductive physicalism (...)
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  • On Ensuring That Physicalism is Not a Dual Attribute Theory in Sheep's Clothing.Frank Jackson - 2006 - Philsophical Studies 131 (1):227-249.
    Physicalists are committed to the determination without remainder of the psychological by the physical, but are they committed to this determination being a priori? This paper distinguishes this question understood de dicto from this question understood de re, argues that understood de re the answer is yes in a way that leaves open the answer to the question understood de dicto.
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  • Causal Exclusion and the Preservation of Causal Sufficiency.Anders Strand - 2010 - SATS: Northern European Journal of Philosophy 11 (2):117-135.
    Causal overdetermination, the existence of more than one sufficient cause for an effect, is standardly regarded as unacceptable among philosophers of mental causation. Philosophers of mind, both proponents of causal exclusion arguments and defenders of non-reductive physicalism, seem generally displeased with the idea of mental causes merely overdetermining their already physically determined effects. However, as I point out below, overdetermination is widespread in the broadly physical domain. Many of these cases are due to what I call the preservation of causal (...)
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  • How to Explain the Explanatory Gap.Neil Mehta - 2013 - Dialectica 67 (2):117-135.
    I construct a tempting anti-physicalist argument, which sharpens an explanatory gap argument suggested by David Chalmers and Frank Jackson. The argument relies crucially on the premise that there is a deep epistemic asymmetry (which may be identified with the explanatory gap) between phenomenal truths and ordinary macroscopic truths. Many physicalists reject the argument by rejecting this premise. I argue that even if this premise is true, the anti-physicalist conclusion should be rejected, and I provide a detailed, physicalist-friendly explanation of the (...)
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  • Emerging From the Causal Drain.Richard Corry - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (1):29-47.
    For over 20 years, Jaegwon Kim’s Causal Exclusion Argument has stood as the major hurdle for non-reductive physicalism. If successful, Kim’s argument would show that the high-level properties posited by non-reductive physicalists must either be identical with lower-level physical properties, or else must be causally inert. The most prominent objection to the Causal Exclusion Argument—the so-called Overdetermination Objection—points out that there are some notions of causation that are left untouched by the argument. If causation is simply counterfactual dependence, for example, (...)
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