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There is No Question of Physicalism

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

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  1. Flesh and Matter: Merleau-Ponty’s Late Ontology as a Materialist Philosophy.Richard Theisen Simanke - 2016 - Humana Mente (31):117-133.
    The ontology developed by Merleau-Ponty in the final stage of his work is centered on the concept of flesh, giving this notion its most general scope by complementing the idea of “flesh of the body” with that of a “flesh of the world.” This paper seeks to evaluate the possibility of reading this philosophy of the flesh as a materialist ontology. For this purpose, the possibility is considered of interpreting the concept of flesh as a new figure of matter, despite (...)
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  • Physicalism, Not Scientism.Alyssa Ney - 2018 - In Jeroen de Ridder, Rik Peels & René van Woudenberg (eds.), Scientism: Prospects and Problems. Oxford University Press.
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  • Physicalism and the Via Negativa.Sara Worley - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 131 (1):101-26.
    Some philosophers have suggested that, instead of attempting to arrive at a satisfactory definition of the physical, we should adopt the ‘via negativa.’ That is, we should take the notion of the mental as fundamental, and define the physical in contrast, as the non-mental. I defend a variant of this approach, based on some information about how children form concepts. I suggest we are hard-wired to form a concept of intentional agency from a very young age, and so there’s some (...)
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  • Mental Causation as Joint Causation.Chiwook Won - 2021 - Synthese 198 (5):4917-4937.
    This paper explores and defends the idea that mental properties and their physical bases jointly cause their physical effects. The paper evaluates the view as an emergentist response to the exclusion problem, comparing it with a competing nonreductive physicalist solution, the compatibilist solution, and argues that the joint causation view is more defensible than commonly supposed. Specifically, the paper distinguishes two theses of closure, Strong Closure and Weak Closure, two causal exclusion problems, the overdetermination problem and the supervenience problem, and (...)
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  • Physicality for Physicalists.D. Gene Witmer - 2018 - Topoi 37 (3):457-472.
    How should the “physical” in “physicalism” be understood? I here set out systematic criteria of adequacy, propose an account, and show how the account meets those criteria. The criteria of adequacy focus on the idea of rational management: to vindicate philosophical practice, the account must make it plausible that we can assess various questions about physicalism. The account on offer is dubbed the “Ideal Naturalist Physics” account, according to which the physical is that which appears in an ideal theory that (...)
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  • Locating the Overdetermination Problem.D. G. Witmer - 2000 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51 (2):273-286.
    Physicalists motivate their position by posing a problem for the opposition: given the causal completeness of physics and the impact of the mental (or, more broadly, the seemingly nonphysical) on the physical, antiphysicalism implies that causal overdetermination is rampant. This argument is, however, equivocal in its use of 'physical'. As Scott Sturgeon has recently argued, if 'physical' means that which is the object of physical theory, completeness is plausible, but the further claim that the mental has a causal impact on (...)
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  • Supervenience-Based Formulations of Physicalism.Jessica Wilson - 2005 - Noûs 39 (3):426-459.
    The physicalist thesis that all entities are nothing over and above physical entities is often interpreted as appealing to a supervenience-based account of "nothing over and aboveness”, where, schematically, the A-entities are nothing over and above the B-entities if the A-entities supervene on the B-entities. The main approaches to filling in this schema correspond to different ways of characterizing the modal strength, the supervenience base, or the supervenience connection at issue. I consider each approach in turn, and argue that the (...)
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  • On Characterizing the Physical.Jessica Wilson - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 131 (1):61-99.
    How should physical entities be characterized? Physicalists, who have most to do with the notion, usually characterize the physical by reference to two components: 1. The physical entities are the entities treated by fundamental physics with the proviso that 2. Physical entities are not fundamentally mental (that is, do not individually possess or bestow mentality) Here I explore the extent to which the appeals to fundamental physics and to the NFM (“no fundamental mentality”) constraint are appropriate for characterizing the physical, (...)
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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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  • More Trouble for Functionalism.Alan Weir - 2001 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 101 (3):267-293.
    In this paper I highlight certain logical and metaphysical issues which arise in the characterisation of functionalism-in particular its ready coherence with a physicalist ontology, its structuralism and the impredicativity of functionalist specifications. I then utilise these points in an attempt to demonstrate fatal flaws in the functionalist programme. I argue that the brand of functionalism inspired by David Lewis fails to accommodate multiple realisability though such accommodation was vaunted as a key improvement over the identity theory. More standard accounts (...)
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  • On the Causal Completeness of Physics.Agustín Vicente - 2006 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20 (2):149 – 171.
    According to an increasing number of authors, the best, if not the only, argument in favour of physicalism is the so-called 'overdetermination argument'. This argument, if sound, establishes that all the entities that enter into causal interactions with the physical world are physical. One key premise in the overdetermination argument is the principle of the causal closure of the physical world, said to be supported by contemporary physics. In this paper, I examine various ways in which physics may support the (...)
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  • Functions and Emergence: When Functional Properties Have Something to Say.Agustín Vicente - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 152 (2):293-312.
    In a recent paper, Bird (in: Groff (ed.) Revitalizing causality: Realism about causality in philosophy and social science, 2007 ) has argued that some higher-order properties—which he calls “evolved emergent properties”—can be considered causally efficacious in spite of exclusion arguments. I have previously argued in favour of a similar position. The basic argument is that selection processes do not take physical categorical properties into account. Rather, selection mechanisms are only tuned to what such properties can do, i.e., to their causal (...)
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  • The Commitment to LOT.Víctor M. Verdejo - 2016 - Dialogue 55 (2):313-341.
    Je soutiens qu’accepter les explications réalistes intentionnelles du comportement cognitif conduit inévitablement à endosser l’hypothèse du langage de la pensée, et que cette position théorique est, par conséquent, largement répandue chez les philosophes de l’esprit. Au cours de la discussion, je propose un exposé succinct et précis de cette hypothèse et j’analyse une série d’exemples représentatifs de l’argumentation pro-LOT. Après avoir examiné deux cas de résistance à ce type de raisonnement, je conclus en montrant que le soutien accordé à la (...)
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  • Fichte’s Critique of Physicalism – Towards an Idealist Alternative.Plato Tse - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (5):527-545.
    ABSTRACTThough the perennial problem of consciousness has outlasted the idealists, the reductivist turn in contemporary naturalistic philosophy of mind and the non-reductivist reactions to it provoke us to re-think post-Kantian idealism. Fichte's Wissenschaftslehre makes for a classical case of non-reductivist approach to mind and his critique of ‘dogmatism’ is all the more relevant in this context. This article contains four sections. The first section is an introduction that explains why post-Kantian idealism is relevant to contemporary philosophy of mind. The second (...)
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  • Physicalism.Justin Tiehen - 2018 - Analysis 78 (3):537-551.
    As a first pass, physicalism is the doctrine that there is nothing over and above the physical. Much recent philosophical work has been devoted to spelling out what this means in more rigorous terms and to assessing the case for the view. What follows is a survey of such work. I begin by looking at competing accounts of what is meant by nothing over and above and then turn to how the physical should be understood. Once we are clear on (...)
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  • Divine Idealism as Physicalism? Reflections on the Structural Definition of Physicalism.Jon W. Thompson - 2019 - Faith and Philosophy 36 (3):313-324.
    Hempel’s Dilemma remains at the center of the problem of defining physicalism. In brief, the dilemma asks whether physicalism should be defined by appeal to current or future physics. If defined by current physics, physicalism is almost certainly false. If defined by an ideal future physics, then physicalism has little determinable content. Montero and Papineau have innovatively suggested that the dilemma may be avoided by defining physicalism structurally. While their definition is one among many definitions, it is significant in that—if (...)
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  • The Ordinary is Extraodinary; The Wonder of the Mundane Physical World.Charles Taliaferro - 2015 - Scientia et Fides 3 (2):107-116.
    Philip Kitcher and other secular naturalists assert that we have a problem-free concept of the "mundane physical world" and use the idea of our familiar material world to critique those who recognize a transcendent reality as in theism. It is argued that the naturalist's concept of the world faces problems involving the primacy of the mental, normativity, sensations and consciousness, and contemporary science. A closing section suggests, contra secular naturalism, that our experience of the mundane world can be suffused with (...)
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  • Causal Exclusion and the Preservation of Causal Sufficiency.Anders Strand - 2010 - SATS 11 (2):117-135.
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  • Causal Exclusion and the Preservation of Causal Sufficiency.Anders Strand - 2010 - SATS 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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  • Two Conceptions of the Physical.Daniel Stoljar - 2001 - Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 62 (2):253-281.
    The debate over physicalism in philosophy of mind can be seen as concerning an inconsistent tetrad of theses: if physicalism is true, a priori physicalism is true; a priori physicalism is false; if physicalism is false, epiphenomenalism is true; epiphenomenalism is false. This paper argues that one may resolve the debate by distinguishing two conceptions of the physical: on the theory-based conception, it is plausible that is true and is false; on the object-based conception, it is plausible that is true (...)
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  • A Bundle Definition of Scientific Understanding and its Application to Quantum Physics.Vera Spillner - 2009 - Philosophia Naturalis 46 (2):279-305.
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  • The Crazyist Metaphysics of Mind.Eric Schwitzgebel - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (4):665-682.
    The Crazyist Metaphysics of Mind. . ???aop.label???
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  • Qualia Und Physikalismus.Jürgen Schröder - 1997 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 28 (1):159-183.
    Qualia and Physicalism. It is assumed that the following three relations exhaust the possibilities for a physicalist account of qualia: 1. determination, 2. identity, 3. realization. The first relation is immediately rejected because it does not exclude property dualism. The second faces the problem that it is probably impossible to discriminate empirically between the identity thesis and the epiphenomenalist position. The third cannot handle qualia adequately, for qualia are not functional properties and the realization relation is only plausible as a (...)
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  • Non-Reductive Physicalism and the Mind Problem.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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  • 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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  • Parsing the Rainbow.Pendaran Roberts - 2014 - Synthese 191 (8):1793-1811.
    Navigating the ontology of color used to be a simple affair. There was the naive view that colors really are in objects the way they appear, and the view that they are secondary qualities to cause certain experiences in us. Today, there are myriad well-developed views but no satisfactory taxonomy of philosophical theories on color. In this article, I first examine the two newest taxonomies on offer and argue that they are inadequate. In particular, I look at Brogaard’s taxonomy and (...)
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  • Mental Causation.David Robb & John Heil - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Worries about mental causation are prominent in contemporary discussions of the mind and human agency. Originally, the problem of mental causation was that of understanding how a mental substance (thought to be immaterial) could interact with a material substance, a body. Most philosophers nowadays repudiate immaterial minds, but the problem of mental causation has not gone away. Instead, focus has shifted to mental properties. How could mental properties be causally relevant to bodily behavior? How could something mental qua mental cause (...)
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  • Physicalism as a Research Programme.Duško Prelević - 2018 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 95 (1):15-33.
    _ Source: _Page Count 19 It is argued in this paper that physicalism is best understood as a research programme, rather than a thesis or an attitude, as some philosophers argue. Given that research programmes connect past, present and future philosophical or scientific activities, physicalists need not decide between current and future physical theories, as it has been required by Hempel’s Dilemma. The author contrasts this proposal with other solutions to Hempel’s Dilemma proposed by currentists, futurists, and those philosophers who (...)
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  • H2O, 'Water', and Transparent Reduction.Thomas W. Polger - 2008 - Erkenntnis 69 (1):109-130.
    Do facts about water have a priori, transparent, reductive explanations in terms of microphysics? Ned Block and Robert Stalnaker hold that they do not. David Chalmers and Frank Jackson hold that they do. In this paper I argue that Chalmers.
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  • Incarnation: Metaphysical Issues.Robin Le Poidevin - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (4):703-714.
    The last quarter of the twentieth century saw a resurgence of realism in various areas of philosophy, including metaphysics and the philosophy of religion, and this trend has continued in the first decade of the twenty-first century. In philosophy of religion this led to explorations of the philosophical coherence of orthodox doctrines, such as the Christian doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation. In metaphysics, there was renewed interest in debates concerning persistence, composition, the relation between mind and body, time (...)
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  • A Mereological Characterization of Physicalism.David Pineda - 2006 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20 (3):243 – 266.
    Physicalism is usually understood as the claim that every empirical entity is or is determined by physical entities. The claim is however imprecise until it is clarified what are the physical entities in question. A sceptical argument in the form of a dilemma tries to show that this problem of formulation of physicalism cannot be adequately met. If we understand physical entities as the entities introduced by current physics, the resulting claim becomes most probably false. If we instead understand physical (...)
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  • Microphysicalism Without Contingent Micro-Macro Laws.Philip Pettit - 1994 - Analysis 54 (4):253-57.
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  • A Definition of Physicalism.Philip Pettit - 1993 - Analysis 53 (4):213-23.
    Defines physicalism in terms of claims that microphysical entities constitute everything and that microphysical laws govern everything. With a reply by Crane.
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  • Empirical Physicalism and the Boundaries of Physics.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (4):343-362.
    I shall argue in this article that there are certain objectual and methodological boundaries imposed by the nature of physics that all formulations of physicalism based on physical theories should respect. Therefore, empirical physicalism – i.e., the sort of physicalism that is eager to accept all the entities included in some future, ideal and complete physical theory and all entities dependent on them (see Jeffrey Poland and Janice Dowell) – is already committed to the exclusion of certain sorts of entities (...)
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  • The Zombies Among Us.Eric T. Olson - 2018 - Noûs 52 (1):216-226.
    Philosophers disagree about whether there could be “zombies”: beings physically identical to normal human people but lacking consciousness. Establishing their possibility would refute physicalism. But it is seldom noted that the popular “constitution view” of human people implies that our bodies actually are zombies. This would contradict several widely held views in the philosophy of mind.
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  • Physicalism as an Attitude.Alyssa Ney - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 138 (1):1 - 15.
    It is widely noted that physicalism, taken as the doctrine that the world contains just what physics says it contains, faces a dilemma which, some like Tim Crane and D.H. Mellor have argued, shows that “physicalism is the wrong answer to an essentially trivial question”. I argue that both problematic horns of this dilemma drop out if one takes physicalism not to be a doctrine of the kind that might be true, false, or trivial, but instead an attitude or oath (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • What Does the Zombie Argument Prove?Miklós Márton - 2019 - Acta Analytica 34 (3):271-280.
    In this paper, I argue that the first and the third premises of the zombie argument cannot be jointly true: zombies are either inconceivable beings or the possible existence of them does not threaten the physicalist standpoint. The tenability of the premises in question depends on how we understand the concept of a zombie. In the paper, I examine three popular candidates to this concept, namely zombies are creatures who lack consciousness, but are identical to us in their functional organization, (...)
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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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  • Causal Exclusion and Physical Causal Completeness.Dwayne Moore - 2019 - Dialectica 73 (4):479-505.
    Nonreductive physicalists endorse the principle of mental causation, according to which some events have mental causes: Sid climbs the hill because he wants to. Nonreductive physicalists also endorse the principle of physical causal completeness, according to which physical events have sufficient physical causes: Sid climbs the hill because a complex neural process in his brain triggered his climbing. Critics typically level the causal exclusion problem against this nonreductive physicalist model, according to which the physical cause is a sufficient cause of (...)
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  • The Epistemic/Ontic Divide.Barbara Montero - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (2):404 - 418.
    A number of philosophers think that, while we cannot explain how the mind is physical, we can know that it is physical, nonetheless. That is, they accept both the explanatory gap between the mental and the physical and ontological physicalism. I argue that this position is unstable. Among other things, I argue that once one accepts the explanatory gap, the main argument for ontological physicalism, the argument from causation, looses its force. For if one takes physical/nonphysical causation and ontological physicalism (...)
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  • The Body of the Mind-Body Problem.Barbara Montero - 1999 - Annals of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science 9 (4):207-217.
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  • Supervenience, by Chance? Reply to Crane and Mellor.Angus Menuge - 1993 - Analysis 53 (4):228-235.
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  • On Understanding Physicalism.Julia Telles de Menezes - 2018 - Kriterion: Journal of Philosophy 59 (140):511-531.
    ABSTRACT This paper aims at exposing a strategy to organize the debate around physicalism. Our starting point is the pre-philosophical notion of physicalism, which is typically formulated in the form of slogans. Indeed, philosophers debating metaphysics have paradigmatically introduced the subject with aid of slogans such as “there is nothing over and above the physical”, “once every physical aspect of the world is settled, every other aspect will follow”, “physicalism is the thesis that everything is physical”. These ideas are very (...)
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  • Mental Causation for Dualists.Paul M. 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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  • Supervenience? No Chance! Reply to Menuge.D. H. Mellor - 1993 - Analysis 53 (4):236-239.
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  • Being a Physicalist: How and (More Importantly) Why.Andrew Melnyk - 1994 - Philosophical Studies 74 (2):221-241.
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  • A Mereological Criterion for Physicality.Ariel Meirav - 2000 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 38 (4):619-631.
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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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