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Physicalism decomposed

Analysis 65 (1):33-39 (2005)

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  1. Mental Causation Via Neuroprosthetics? A Critical Analysis.Tuomas Pernu - 2018 - Synthese (12):5159-5174.
    Some recent arguments defending the genuine causal efficacy of the mental have been relying on empirical research on neuroprosthetics. This essay presents a critical analysis of these arguments. The problem of mental causation, and the basic idea and results of neuroprosthetics are reviewed. It is shown how appealing to the research on neuroprosthetics can be interpreted to give support to the idea of mental causation. However, it does so only in a rather deflationary sense: by holding the mental identical with (...)
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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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  • Hierarchies and Levels of Reality.Alexander Rueger & Patrick Mcgivern - 2010 - Synthese 176 (3):379-397.
    We examine some assumptions about the nature of 'levels of reality' in the light of examples drawn from physics. Three central assumptions of the standard view of such levels (for instance, Oppenheim and Putnam 1958) are (i) that levels are populated by entities of varying complexity, (ii) that there is a unique hierarchy of levels, ranging from the very small to the very large, and (iii) that the inhabitants of adjacent levels are related by the parthood relation. Using examples from (...)
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  • Ontological Emergence: How is That Possible? Towards a New Relational Ontology.Gil Santos - 2015 - Foundations of Science 20 (4):429-446.
    In this article I address the issue of the ontological conditions of possibility for a naturalistic notion of emergence, trying to determine its fundamental differences from the atomist, vitalist, preformationist and potentialist alternatives. I will argue that a naturalistic notion of ontological emergence can only succeed if we explicitly refuse the atomistic fundamental ontological postulate that asserts that every entity is endowed with a set of absolutely intrinsic properties, being qualitatively immutable through its extrinsic relations. Furthermore, it will be shown (...)
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  • Counterfactual Causation and Mental Causation.Jens Harbecke - 2014 - Philosophia 42 (2):363-385.
    Counterfactual conditionals have been appealed to in various ways to show how the mind can be causally efficacious. However, it has often been overestimated what the truth of certain counterfactuals actually indicates about causation. The paper first identifies four approaches that seem to commit precisely this mistake. The arguments discussed involve erroneous assumptions about the connection of counterfactual dependence and genuine causation, as well as a disregard of the requisite evaluation conditions of counterfactuals. In a second step, the paper uses (...)
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  • Uncoupling Mereology and Supervenience: A Dual Framework for Emergence and Downward Causation.Marta Bertolaso - 2017 - Axiomathes 27 (6):705-720.
    The philosophical discussion of emergence is often focused on properties of ‘wholes’ that are evaluated as emergent with respect to the properties of ‘parts’. Downward causation is, consequently, evaluated as some kind of causal influence of whole properties over parts properties. Yet, several important cases in scientific practice seem to be pursuing hypotheses of parts properties emerging from wholes properties, inverting the instinctive association of emergence with wholes. Furthermore, some areas of reflection which are very important for emergence, e.g., the (...)
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  • Chemistry and Physics: No Need for Metaphysical Glue. [REVIEW]J. van Brakel - 2010 - Foundations of Chemistry 12 (2):123-136.
    Using the notorious bridge law “water is H 2 O” and the relation between molecular structure and quantum mechanics as examples, I argue that it doesn’t make sense to aim for specific definition(s) of intertheoretical or interdiscourse relation(s) between chemistry and physics (reduction, supervenience, what have you). Proposed definitions of interdiscourse and part-whole relations are interesting only if they provide insight in the variegated interconnected patchwork of theories and beliefs. There is “automatically” some sort of interdiscourse relation if different discourses (...)
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