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Physicalism

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2015)

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  1. Ectoplasm Earth.Justin Tiehen - 2012 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 42 (3-4):167-185.
    What does it mean to say that the mental is nothing over and above the physical? In other words, what exactly is the thesis of physicalism about the mental? The question has not received the philosophical attention it deserves. If that sounds woefully uninformed, it's probably because you are mistaking my restricted thesis of physicalism about the mental for the unrestricted thesis of physicalism simpliciter. Physicalism simpliciter is the doctrine that everything is physical; equivalently, that there is nothing over and (...)
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  • No Good Arguments for Causal Closure.Keith Buhler - 2020 - Metaphysica 21 (2):223-236.
    Many common arguments for physicalism begin with the principle that the cosmos is “causally closed.” But how good are the arguments for causal closure itself? I argue that the deductive, a priori arguments on behalf of causal closure tend to beg the question. The extant inductive arguments fare no better. They commit a sampling error or a non-sequitur, or else offer conclusions that remain compatible with causal openness. In short, we have no good arguments that the physical world is causally (...)
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  • The Rotten Core of Presentism.Jonathan Tallant & David Ingram - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):3969-3991.
    Recently, some have attempted to reformulate debates in first-order metaphysics, particularly in the metaphysics of time and modality, for reasons due to Williamson. In this paper, we focus on the ways in which the likes of Cameron, Correia and Rosenkranz, Deasy, Ingram, Tallant, Viebahn, inter alia, have initiated and responded to attempts to capture the core of presentism using a formal, logical machinery. We argue that such attempts are doomed to fail because there is no theoretical core to presentism. There (...)
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  • Argument-Forms Which Turn Invalid Over Infinite Domains: Physicalism as Supertask?Catherine Legg - 2008 - Contemporary Pragmatism 5 (1):1-11.
    Argument-forms exist which are valid over finite but not infinite domains. Despite understanding of this by formal logicians, philosophers can be observed treating as valid arguments which are in fact invalid over infinite domains. In support of this claim I will first present an argument against the classical pragmatist theory of truth by Mark Johnston. Then, more ambitiously, I will suggest the fallacy lurks in certain arguments for physicalism taken for granted by many philosophers today.
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  • On Characterizing Metaphysical Naturalism.Lok-Chi Chan - 2021 - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Mind 1:232-260.
    The disciplinary characterisation (DC) is the most popular approach to defining metaphysical naturalism and physicalism. It defines metaphysical naturalism with reference to scientific theories and defines physicalism with reference to physical theories, and suggests that every entity that exists is a posited entity of these theories. DC has been criticised for its inability to solve Hempel’s dilemma and a list of problems alike. In this paper, I propose and defend a novel version of DC that can be called a historical (...)
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  • Physicalism and the Status of Special Science Laws.Vladimír Havlík - 2019 - Teorie Vědy / Theory of Science 41 (2):201-228.
    Physicalism as a metaphysical or ontological concept has maintained a dominant position since the second half of the last century to the present day. The claim that everything is physically constituted often accompanies microphysical reductionism, which assumes the existence of fundamental laws to which everything is reducible. In this context, a question regarding the status and possible autonomy of the laws of special sciences arises. The article focuses on the basic philosophical discussions between the strong, weak, and non-reductive physicalism that (...)
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  • Methodological naturalism in the sciences.Sandy C. Boucher - 2020 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 88 (1):57-80.
    Creationists have long argued that evolutionary science is committed to a dogmatic metaphysics of naturalism and materialism, which is based on faith or ideology rather than evidence. The standard response to this has been to insist that science is not committed to any such metaphysical doctrine, but only to a methodological version of naturalism, according to which science may only appeal to natural entities and processes. But this whole debate presupposes that there is a clear distinction between the natural and (...)
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  • Hylomorphism and the Construct of Consciousness.William Jaworski - 2020 - Topoi 39 (5):1125-1139.
    The hard problem of consciousness has held center stage in the philosophy of mind for the past two decades. It claims that the phenomenal character of conscious experiences—what it’s like to be in them—cannot be explained by appeal to the operation of physiological subsystems. The hard problem arises, however, only given the assumption that hylomorphism is false. Hylomorphism claims that structure is a basic ontological and explanatory principle. A human is not a random collection of physical materials, but an individual (...)
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  • The Impact of Explicit Teaching of Methodological Aspects of Physics on Scientistic Beliefs and Interest.Stefan Korte, Roland Berger & Martin Hänze - 2017 - Science & Education 26 (3-4):377-396.
    We assessed the impact of teaching methodological aspects of physics on students’ scientistic beliefs and subject interest in physics in a repeated-measurement design with a total of 142 students of upper secondary physics classes. Students gained knowledge of methodological aspects from the pre-test to the post-test and reported reduced scientistic beliefs, both from their own views and from their presumed prototypical physicists’ views. We found no direct impact of teaching on students’ subject interest in physics. As path analysis indicates, this (...)
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  • The Dynamics of Group Cognition.S. Orestis Palermos - 2016 - Minds and Machines 26 (4):409-440.
    The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that the postulation of irreducible, distributed cognitive systems is necessary for the successful explanatory practice of cognitive science and sociology. Towards this end, and with an eye specifically on the phenomenon of distributed cognition, the debate over reductionism versus emergence is examined from the perspective of Dynamical Systems Theory. The motivation for this novel approach is threefold. Firstly, DST is particularly popular amongst cognitive scientists who work on modelling collective behaviors. Secondly, DST (...)
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  • An Evolutionary Argument Against Physicalism : Or Some Advice to Jaegwon Kim and Alvin Plantinga.Christoffer Skogholt - unknown
    According to the dominant tradition in Christianity and many other religions, human beings are both knowers and actors: beings with conscious beliefs about the world who sometimes act intentionally guided by these beliefs. According to philosopher of mind Robert Cummins the “received view” among philosophers of mind is epiphenomenalism, according to which mental causation does not exist: neural events are the underlying causes of both behavior and belief which explains the correlation (not causation) between belief and behavior. Beliefs do not, (...)
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  • Putting Reasons First: A Defense of Normative Non-Naturalism.Andrew T. Forcehimes - unknown
    Against non-analytic naturalism and quietist realism, I defend a robust form of non-naturalism. The argument proceeds as follows: In the face of extensional underdetermination, quietist realism cannot non-question-beggingly respond to alternative accounts that offer formally identical but substantively different interpretations of what reasons are. They face what we might call the reasons appropriation problem. In light of this problem, quietists ought to abandon their view in favor of robust realism. By permitting substantive metaphysical claims we can then argue, based on (...)
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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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  • مواجهه با مسئله فعل الهی در طبیعت: برتری دیدگاه نوخاسته گرایانه بر دیدگاه های تومیستی و کوانتمی.سید حسن حسینی & مسعود طوسی سعیدی - 2020 - پژوهشنامه فلسفه دین 17 (2):27-56.
    نوخاسته‌گرایان مشهوری نظیر نانسی مورفی و پاول دیویس مدعی‌اند قبول برخی دیدگاه‌های نوخاسته‌گرایانه وقوع تحولی اساسی در پارادایم علمی حاکم را در پی دارد. در این مقاله، نخست با واکاوی مضامین اصلی مربوط به مواضعی نظیر طبیعت‌گرایی، تقلیل‌گرایی، علم‌گرایی و نظیر اینها، تحلیلی کلی از مؤلفه‌های پارادایم علمی ارائه می‌شود. در ضمن این تحلیل، مؤلفه‌های مختلف مربوط به پارادایم علمی تبیین شده، نسبت این مؤلفه‌ها با یکدیگر بررسی می‌شود. پس از آن، به بررسی دیدگاه‌های نوخاسته‌گرایانه از هر دو قسم نوخاسته‌گرایی (...)
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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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  • Towards a Unitary Case for Russellian Panpsychism.Luca Dondoni - 2021 - Philosophia 2021:1-22.
    One of the most pressing challenges that occupy the Russellian panpsychist’s agenda is to come up with a way to reconcile the traditional argument from categorical properties (Seager, 2006; Alter & Nagasawa, 2015) with H. H. Mørch’s dispositionalism-friendly argument from the experience of causation (2014, 2018, 2020) — on the way to a unitary, all-encompassing case for the view. In this regard, Mørch claims that, via the commitment to the Identity theory of properties, one can consistently hold both panpsychist arguments (...)
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  • Aggregating Causal Judgments.Richard Bradley, Franz Dietrich & Christian List - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (4):491-515.
    Decision-making typically requires judgments about causal relations: we need to know the causal effects of our actions and the causal relevance of various environmental factors. We investigate how several individuals' causal judgments can be aggregated into collective causal judgments. First, we consider the aggregation of causal judgments via the aggregation of probabilistic judgments, and identify the limitations of this approach. We then explore the possibility of aggregating causal judgments independently of probabilistic ones. Formally, we introduce the problem of causal-network aggregation. (...)
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  • The Power of Absence: Dialectical Critical Realism, MetaRealism and Terrence W. Deacon’s Account of the Emergence of Ententionality. [REVIEW]Mervyn Hartwig - 2013 - Journal of Critical Realism 12 (2):210-243.
    This essay calls attention to robust synergies between Roy Bhaskar’s philosophy of dialectical critical realism and Terrence W. Deacon’s recent investigation of the geo-historical emergence of ententional or teleological phenomena, as well as important differences. Deacon has independently arrived at an understanding of absence as causally efficacious in the emergence of life and consciousness, and deploys a range of other concepts that resonate with DCR. He develops a critique both of eliminativist and monovalent approaches to ententionality, on the one hand, (...)
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  • Turning Up the Volume on the Property View of Sound.Pendaran Roberts - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (4):337-357.
    In the present article, I show that sounds are properties that are not physical in a narrow sense. First, I argue that sounds are properties using Moorean style arguments and defend this property view from various arguments against it that make use of salient disanalogies between sounds and colors. The first disanalogy is that we talk of objects making sounds but not of objects making colors. The second is that we count and quantify over sounds but not colors. The third (...)
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  • Apie Animalizmo Banalumą.Mariusz Grigianiec - 2018 - Logos 95:71-82.
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  • Agency as Difference-Making: Causal Foundations of Moral Responsibility.Johannes Himmelreich - 2015 - Dissertation, London School of Economics and Political Science
    We are responsible for some things but not for others. In this thesis, I investigate what it takes for an entity to be responsible for something. This question has two components: agents and actions. I argue for a permissive view about agents. Entities such as groups or artificially intelligent systems may be agents in the sense required for responsibility. With respect to actions, I argue for a causal view. The relation in virtue of which agents are responsible for actions is (...)
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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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  • The Knowledge Argument.Luca Malatesti - 2004 - Dissertation, University of Stirling
    Frank Jackson’s knowledge argument is a very influential piece of reasoning that seeks to show that colour experiences constitute an insoluble problem for science. This argument is based on a thought experiment concerning Mary. She is a vision scientist who has complete scientific knowledge of colours and colour vision but has never had colour experiences. According to Jackson, upon seeing coloured objects, Mary acquires new knowledge that escapes her complete scientific knowledge. He concludes that there are facts concerning colour experiences (...)
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  • Zombies, the Uniformity of Nature, and Contingent Physicalism: A Sympathetic Response to Boran Berčić.Luca Malatesti - 2013 - Prolegomena 12 (2):245-259.
    Boran Berčić, in the second volume of his recent book "Filozofija" , offers two responses to David Chalmers’s conceivability or modal argument against physicalism. This latter argument aims at showing that zombies, our physical duplicates who lack consciousness, are metaphysically possible, given that they are conceivable. Berčić’s first response is based on the principle of the uniformity of nature that states that causes of a certain type will always cause effects of the same type. His second response is based on (...)
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  • An Enquiry Into Sufi Metaphysics.Ezgi Ulusoy Aranyosi - 2012 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (1):3-22.
    The fact that Sufi metaphysics is usually taken to be merely the writings of Islamic philosophers, like Ibn al-'Arabi, seems to underestimate the philosophical indications of literary texts in the Sufi tradition. When Sufi literary texts are examined for philosophical content, that content is sought within and through the traditional Sufist approach. However, there appears to be a lack of correspondence between the traditional approach on the main conceptions in Sufism and what literary texts can offer regarding those, when some (...)
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  • Wittgenstein Versus Carnap on Physicalism: A Reassessment.David Stern - unknown
    The "standard account" of Wittgenstein’s relations with the Vienna Circle is that the early Wittgenstein was a principal source and inspiration for the Circle’s positivistic and scientific philosophy, while the later Wittgenstein was deeply opposed to the logical empiricist project of articulating a "scientific conception of the world." However, this telegraphic summary is at best only half-true and at worst deeply misleading. For it prevents us appreciating the fluidity and protean character of their philosophical dialogue. In retrospectively attributing clear-cut positions (...)
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  • Methodological Individualism and Holism in Political Science: A Reconciliation.Christian List & Kai Spiekermann - 2013 - American Political Science Review 107 (4):629-643.
    Political science is divided between methodological individualists, who seek to explain political phenomena by reference to individuals and their interactions, and holists (or nonreductionists), who consider some higher-level social entities or properties such as states, institutions, or cultures ontologically or causally significant. We propose a reconciliation between these two perspectives, building on related work in philosophy. After laying out a taxonomy of different variants of each view, we observe that (i) although political phenomena result from underlying individual attitudes and behavior, (...)
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  • Persistence and the First-Person Perspective.Dilip Ninan - 2009 - Philosophical Review 118 (4):425-464.
    When one considers one's own persistence over time from the first-person perspective, it seems as if facts about one's persistence are "further facts," over and above facts about physical and psychological continuity. But the idea that facts about one's persistence are further facts is objectionable on independent theoretical grounds: it conflicts with physicalism and requires us to posit hidden facts about our persistence. This essay shows how to resolve this conflict using the idea that imagining from the first-person point of (...)
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  • Naturalism and Abstract Entities.Feng Ye - 2010 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (2):129-146.
    I argue that the most popular versions of naturalism imply nominalism in philosophy of mathematics. In particular, there is a conflict in Quine's philosophy between naturalism and realism in mathematics. The argument starts from a consequence of naturalism on the nature of human cognitive subjects, physicalism about cognitive subjects, and concludes that this implies a version of nominalism, which I will carefully characterize. The indispensability of classical mathematics for the sciences and semantic/confirmation holism does not affect the argument. The disquotational (...)
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  • The Way of Actuality.Sam Cowling - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (2):231-247.
    In this paper, I defend an indexical analysis of the abstract-concrete distinction within the framework of modal realism. This analysis holds the abstract-concrete distinction to be conceptually inseparable from the distinction between the actual and the merely possible, which is assumed to be indexical in nature. The resulting view contributes to the case for modal realism by demonstrating how its distinctive resources provide a reductive analysis of the abstract-concrete distinction. This indexical analysis also provides a solution to a sceptical problem (...)
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  • Physikalismus, Materialismus und Naturalismus.Andreas Hüttemann - 2017 - In Markus Schrenk (ed.), Handbuch Metaphysik. pp. 292-298.
    Discusses and contrasts various accounts of physicalism, naturalism and materialism.
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  • Philosophers Should Prefer Simpler Theories.Darren Bradley - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (12):3049-3067.
    Should philosophers prefer simpler theories? Huemer (Philos Q 59:216–236, 2009) argues that the reasons to prefer simpler theories in science do not apply in philosophy. I will argue that Huemer is mistaken—the arguments he marshals for preferring simpler theories in science can also be applied in philosophy. Like Huemer, I will focus on the philosophy of mind and the nominalism/Platonism debate. But I want to engage with the broader issue of whether simplicity is relevant to philosophy.
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  • An Ontic Account of Explanatory Reduction in Biology.Marie I. Kaiser - 2012 - Köln: Kölner Hochschulschriften.
    Convincing disputes about explanatory reductionism in the philosophy of biology require a clear and precise understanding of what a reductive explanation in biology is. The central aim of this book is to provide such an account by revealing the features that determine the reductive character of a biological explanation. Chapters I-IV provide the ground, on which I can then, in Chapter V, develop my own account of explanatory reduction in biology: Chapter I reveals the meta-philosophical assumptions that underlie my analysis (...)
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  • Response to Alter and Bennett.Daniel Stoljar - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (3):775-784.
    The paper responds to criticisms of *Ignorance and Imagination* offered by Torin Alter and Karen Bennett.
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  • Imagining as a Guide to Possibility.Peter Kung - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (3):620-663.
    I lay out the framework for my theory of sensory imagination in “Imagining as a guide to possibility.” Sensory imagining involves mental imagery , and crucially, in describing the content of imagining, I distinguish between qualitative content and assigned content. Qualitative content derives from the mental image itself; for visual imaginings, it is what is “pictured.” For example, visually imagine the Philadelphia Eagles defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers to win their first Super Bowl. You picture the greenness of the field and (...)
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  • Sensorama: A Phenomenalist Analysis of Spacetime and Its Contents.Michael Pelczar - 2015 - Oxford University Press.
    How does the modern scientific conception of time constrain the project of assigning the mind its proper place in nature? On the scientific conception, it makes no sense to speak of the duration of a pain, or the simultaneity of sensations occurring in different parts of the brain. Such considerations led Henri Poincaré, one of the founders of the modern conception, to conclude that consciousness does not exist in spacetime, but serves as the basic material out of which we must (...)
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  • Supervenience Physicalism and the Berry Paradox.Douglas V. Porpora - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (4):1681-1693.
    This paper intervenes in an argument over the number of thoughts that could be thought. The argument has important implications for supervenience physicalism, the thesis that all is physical or supervenient on the physical. If, per quantum mechanics, the number of possible physical states is finite while the number of possible thoughts is infinite, then the latter exceeds the former in number, and supervenience phyicalsim fails. Abelson first argued that possible thoughts are infinite as we can think of any of (...)
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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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  • A Skeptical View on the Physics-Consciousness Explanatory Gap.Mario Martinez-Saito - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-30.
    The epistemological chasm between how we perceive or imagine the actual world and how we think of its underlying entities has motivated perhaps the most disconcerting impasse in human thought: the explanatory gap between the phenomenal and physical properties of the world. Here, I advocate a combination of philosophical skepticism and simplicity as an informed approach to arbitrate among theories of consciousness. I argue that the explanatory gap is rightly a gap in our understanding, but one that is not surprising; (...)
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  • Russellian Physicalism and its Dilemma.Lok-Chi Chan - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178:2043-2062.
    Russellian monism – an influential doctrine proposed by Russell (1927/1992) – is roughly the view that the natural sciences can only ever tell us about the causal, dispositional, and structural properties of physical entities and not about their categorical properties, and, moreover, that our qualia are constituted by categorical properties. Recently, Stoljar (2001a, 2001b), Strawson (2008), Montero (2010, 2015), Alter and Nagasawa (2012), and Chalmers (2015) have attempted to develop this doctrine into a version of physicalism. Russellian monism faces the (...)
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  • The Nature of Appearance in Kant’s Transcendentalism: A Seman- Tico-Cognitive Analysis.Sergey L. Katrechko - 2018 - Kantian Journal 37 (3):41-55.
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  • Physicalism.Amanda Bryant - 2020 - In Michael J. Raven (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding. New York: Routledge. pp. 484-500.
    This chapter considers potential applications of grounding to the formulation of physicalism. I begin with an overview of competing conceptions of the physical and of physicalism. I then consider whether grounding physicalism overcomes well-known and seemingly fatal problems with supervenience physicalism. I conclude that while grounding physicalism improves upon supervenience physicalism in certain respects, it arguably falls victim to some of the same difficulties.
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  • Pluralism and Perspectivism in the American Pragmatist Tradition.Matthew Brown - 2020 - In Michela Massimi (ed.), Knowledge From a Human Point of View. Springer Verlag.
    This chapter explores perspectivism in the American Pragmatist tradition. On the one hand, the thematization of perspectivism in contemporary epistemology and philosophy of science can benefit from resources in the American Pragmatist philosophical tradition. On the other hand, the Pragmatists have interesting and innovative, pluralistic views that can be illuminated through the lens of perspectivism. I pursue this inquiry primarily through examining relevant sources from the Pragmatist tradition. I will illustrate productive engagements between pragmatism and perspectivism in three areas: in (...)
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  • Having It Both Ways: Consciousness, Unique Not Otherworldly.Andreas Elpidorou - 2013 - Philosophia 41 (4):1181-1203.
    I respond to Chalmers’ (2006, 2010) objection to the Phenomenal Concept Strategy (PCS) by showing that his objection is faced with a dilemma that ultimately undercuts its force. Chalmers argues that no version of PCS can posit psychological features that are both physically explicable and capable of explaining our epistemic situation. In response, I show that what Chalmers calls ‘our epistemic situation’ admits either of a phenomenal or of a topic-neutral characterization, neither of which supports Chalmers’ objection. On the one (...)
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  • Levels: Descriptive, Explanatory, and Ontological.Christian List - 2019 - Noûs 53 (4):852-883.
    Scientists and philosophers frequently speak about levels of description, levels of explanation, and ontological levels. In this paper, I propose a unified framework for modelling levels. I give a general definition of a system of levels and show that it can accommodate descriptive, explanatory, and ontological notions of levels. I further illustrate the usefulness of this framework by applying it to some salient philosophical questions: (1) Is there a linear hierarchy of levels, with a fundamental level at the bottom? And (...)
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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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  • Interdisciplinary Workshop in the Philosophy of Medicine: Minds and Bodies in Medicine.Marion Godman & Elselijn Kingma - 2013 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 19 (3):564-571.
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  • In Defense of a Realization Formulation of Physicalism.Andrew Melnyk - 2018 - Topoi 37 (3):483-493.
    In earlier work, I proposed and defended a formulation of physicalism that was distinctive in appealing to a carefully-defined relation of physical realization. Various philosophers (Robert Francescotti, Daniel Stoljar, Carl Gillett, and Susan Schneider) have since presented challenges to this formulation. In the present paper, I aim to show that these challenges can be overcome.
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  • If Materialism is True, the United States is Probably Conscious.Eric Schwitzgebel - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (7):1697-1721.
    If you’re a materialist, you probably think that rabbits are conscious. And you ought to think that. After all, rabbits are a lot like us, biologically and neurophysiologically. If you’re a materialist, you probably also think that conscious experience would be present in a wide range of naturally-evolved alien beings behaviorally very similar to us even if they are physiologically very different. And you ought to think that. After all, to deny it seems insupportable Earthly chauvinism. But a materialist who (...)
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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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