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There is No Question of Physicalism

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

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  1. Global Supervenience and Dependence.Karen Bennett - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (3):501-529.
    Two versions of global supervenience have recently been distinguished from each other. I introduce a third version, which is more likely what people had in mind all along. However, I argue that one of the three versions is equivalent to strong supervenience in every sense that matters, and that neither of the other two versions counts as a genuine determination relation. I conclude that global supervenience has little metaphysically distinctive value.
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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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  • Mental Causation in a Physical World.Eric Marcus - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 122 (1):27-50.
    Abstract: It is generally accepted that the most serious threat to the possibility of mental causation is posed by the causal self-sufficiency of physical causal processes. I argue, however, that this feature of the world, which I articulate in principle I call Completeness, in fact poses no genuine threat to mental causation. Some find Completeness threatening to mental causation because they confuse it with a stronger principle, which I call Closure. Others do not simply conflate Completeness and Closure, but (...)
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  • From Metaphysics to Ethics: A Defence of Conceptual Analysis.Frank Jackson - 1998 - Oxford University Press.
    Frank Jackson champions the cause of conceptual analysis as central to philosophical inquiry. In recent years conceptual analysis has been undervalued and widely misunderstood, suggests Jackson. He argues that such analysis is mistakenly clouded in mystery, preventing a whole range of important questions from being productively addressed. He anchors his argument in discussions of specific philosophical issues, starting with the metaphysical doctrine of physicalism and moving on, via free will, meaning, personal identity, motion, and change, to ethics and the philosophy (...)
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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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  • Two Conceptions of the Physical.Daniel Stoliar - 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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  • 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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  • I—Emma Borg: Must a Semantic Minimalist Be a Semantic Internalist?Emma Borg - 2009 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1):31-51.
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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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  • Emergence, Reduction and Supervenience: A Varied Landscape. [REVIEW]Jeremy Butterfield - unknown
    This is one of two papers about emergence, reduction and supervenience. It expounds these notions and analyses the general relations between them. The companion paper analyses the situation in physics, especially limiting relations between physical theories. I shall take emergence as behaviour that is novel and robust relative to some comparison class. I shall take reduction as deduction using appropriate auxiliary definitions. And I shall take supervenience as a weakening of reduction, viz. to allow infinitely long definitions. The overall claim (...)
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  • Physicalism Decomposed.A. Huttemann & D. Papineau - 2005 - Analysis 65 (1):33-39.
    In this paper we distinguish two issues that are often run together in discussions about physicalism. The first issue concerns levels. How do entities picked out by non-physical terminology, such as biological or psychological terminology, relate to physical entities? Are the former identical to, or metaphysically supervenient on, the latter? The second issue concerns physical parts and wholes. How do macroscopic physical entities relate to their microscopic parts? Are the former generally determined by the latter? We argue that views on (...)
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  • Pursuing Natural Piety: Understanding Ontological Emergence and Distinguishing It From Physicalism.Peter Fazekas - 2014 - Dialectica 68 (1):97-119.
    This paper focuses on two issues related to ontological emergence: whether it is a coherent notion, and its relation to the doctrine of physicalism. First, it is argued that ontological emergence is best understood as a thesis relying on three fundamental tenets claiming that emergents are basic, genuinely causal, and determined by the physical realm. The paper elucidates the roles of these tenets, and introduces an interpretation that is able to resolve any apparent contradiction between the tenets, thereby supporting the (...)
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  • On the Compatibility of Epistemic Internalism and Content Externalism.B. J. C. Madison - 2009 - Acta Analytica 24 (3):173-183.
    In this paper I consider a recent argument of Timothy Williamson’s that epistemic internalism and content externalism are indeed incompatible, and since he takes content externalism to be above reproach, so much the worse for epistemic internalism. However, I argue that epistemic internalism, properly understood, remains substantially unaffected no matter which view of content turns out to be correct. What is key to the New Evil Genius thought experiment is that, given everything of which the inhabitants are consciously aware, the (...)
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  • I—M Ust a S Emantic M Inimalist Be a S Emantic I Nternalist&Quest.Emma Borg - 2009 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1):31-51.
    I aim to show that a semantic minimalist need not also be a semantic internalist. §I introduces minimalism and internalism and argues that there is a prima facie case for a minimalist being an internalist. §II sketches some positive arguments for internalism which, if successful, show that a minimalist must be an internalist. §III goes on to reject these arguments and contends that the prima facie case for uniting minimalism and internalism is also not compelling. §IV returns to an objection (...)
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  • Critical Notices.Tim Crane, Lawrence Vogel, Gerardine Meaney & Michael Hampe - 1993 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 1 (2):313 – 353.
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  • Physicalism and Phenomenal Concepts.Erhan Demircioglu - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (1):257-277.
    Frank Jackson’s famous Knowledge Argument moves from the premise that complete physical knowledge is not complete knowledge about experiences to the falsity of physicalism. In recent years, a consensus has emerged that the credibility of this and other well-known anti-physicalist arguments can be undermined by allowing that we possess a special category of concepts of experiences, phenomenal concepts, which are conceptually independent from physical/functional concepts. It is held by a large number of philosophers that since the conceptual independence of phenomenal (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Introduction: The Character of Physicalism.Andreas Elpidorou - 2018 - Topoi 37 (3):435-455.
    The aim of this editorial introduction is twofold. First, Sects. 1–8 offer a critical introduction to the metaphysical character of physicalism. In those sections, I present and evaluate different ways in which proponents of physicalism have made explicit the metaphysical dependence that is said to hold between the non-physical and the physical. Some of these accounts are found to be problematic; others are shown to be somewhat more promising. In the end, some important lessons are drawn and different options for (...)
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Fichte’s Critique of Physicalism – Towards an Idealist Alternative.Plato Tse - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-19.
    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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  • A Mereological Criterion for Physicality.Ariel Meirav - 2000 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 38 (4):619-631.
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  • The Physical: Empirical, Not Metaphysical.J. L. Dowell, & Janice Dowell - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 131 (1):25-60.
    2. The Contingency and A posteriority Constraint: A formulation of the thesis must make physicalism come out contingent and a posteriori. First, physicalism is a contingent truth, if it is a truth. This means that physicalism could have been false, i.e. there are counterfactual worlds in which physicalism is false, for example, counterfactual worlds in which there are miracle -performing angels.[9] Moreover, if physicalism is true, our knowledge of its truth is a posteriori. This is to say that there are (...)
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  • The Ontology of Subjective Physicalism.Robert J. Howell - 2009 - Noûs 43 (2):315-345.
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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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  • Why 'Non-Mental' Won't Work: On Hempel's Dilemma and the Characterization of the 'Physical'. [REVIEW]Neal Judisch - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 140 (3):299 - 318.
    Recent discussions of physicalism have focused on the question how the physical ought to be characterized. Many have argued that any characterization of the physical should include the stipulation that the physical is non-mental, and others have claimed that a systematic substitution of ‘non-mental’ for ‘physical’ is all that is needed for philosophical purposes. I argue here that both claims are incorrect: substituting ‘non-mental’ for ‘physical’ in the causal argument for physicalism does not deliver the physicalist conclusion, and the specification (...)
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  • Methodology, Not Metaphysics: Against Semantic Externalism.John Collins - 2009 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1):53-69.
    Borg (2009) surveys and rejects a number of arguments in favour of semantic internalism. This paper, in turn, surveys and rejects all of Borg's anti-internalist arguments. My chief moral is that, properly conceived, semantic internalism is a methodological doctrine that takes its lead from current practice in linguistics. The unifying theme of internalist arguments, therefore, is that linguistics neither targets nor presupposes externalia. To the extent that this claim is correct, we should be internalists about linguistic phenomena, including semantics.
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  • Redefining Physicalism.Guy Dove - 2018 - Topoi 37 (3):513-522.
    Philosophers have traditionally treated physicalism as an empirically informed metaphysical thesis. This approach faces a well-known problem often referred to as Hempel’s dilemma: formulations of physicalism tend to be either false or indeterminate. The generally preferred strategy to address this problem involves an appeal to a hypothetical complete and ideal physical theory. After demonstrating that this strategy is not viable, I argue that we should redefine physicalism as an interdisciplinary research program seeking to explain the mental in terms of the (...)
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  • Consciousness-Dependence and the Explanatory Gap.Neil Campbell Manson - 2002 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 45 (4):521-540.
    Contrary to certain rumours, the mind-body problem is alive and well. So argues Joseph Levine in Purple Haze: The Puzzle of Consciousness . The main argument is simple enough. Considerations of causal efficacy require us to accept that subjective experiential, or 'phenomenal', properties are realized in basic non-mental, probably physical properties. But no amount of knowledge of those physical properties will allow us conclusively to deduce facts about the existence and nature of phenomenal properties. This failure of deducibility constitutes an (...)
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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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  • Physicality for Physicalists.D. 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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  • Ontological Reduction and Molecular Structure.Robin Findlay Hendry - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 41 (2):183-191.
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  • Ontological Reduction and Molecular Structure.Robin Findlay Hendry - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 41 (2):183-191.
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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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  • The Knowledge Argument and Objectivity.Robert J. Howell - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 135 (2):145-177.
    In this paper I argue that Frank Jackson.
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  • Dualism, Monism, Physicalism.Tim Crane - 2000 - Mind and Society 1 (2):73-85.
    Dualism can be contrasted with monism, and also with physicalism. It is argued here that what is essential to physicalism is not just its denial of dualism , but the epistemological and ontological authority it gives to physical science. A physicalist view of the mind must be reductive in one or both of the following senses: it must identify mental phenomena with physical phenomena or it must give an explanation of mental phenomena in physical terms . There is little reason (...)
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  • What Does the Zombie Argument Prove?Miklós Márton - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-10.
    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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  • 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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  • On Understanding Physicalism.Julia Telles de Menezes - 2018 - Kriterion: Revista de Filosofia 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 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):164-81.
    I focus on Fodor’s model of the relationship between special sciences and basic physics, and on a criticism of this model, that it implies that the causal stability of, e.g., the mental in its production of behaviour is nothing short of a miraculous coincidence. David Papineau and Graham Macdonaldendorse this criticism. But it is far less clear than they assume that Fodor’s picture indeed involves coincidences, which in any case their injection of a teleological supplement cannot explain. Papineau’s and Macdonald’s (...)
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  • Physicalism, Teleology and the Miraculous Coincidence Problem.Jonathan Knowles - 1999 - Philosophical Quarterly 49 (195):164-181.
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