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Physicalism

New York: Routledge (2010)

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  1. 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Russellian Representationalism and the Stygian Hues.William A. Sharp - 2024 - Erkenntnis 89 (2):777-797.
    Representationalism is today the leading physicalist theory of the phenomenal character of perceptual experience. And Russellian representationalism, which identifies contents with extensions, is the leading iteration of that theory. If there exist phenomenally distinct experiences as of the impossible, then these would _prima facie_ serve as counterexamples to the theory. In order that they definitively serve as counterexamples, it needs to be that there is no plausible account of the experiences on which they decompose into constituent elements each of which (...)
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  • Levels: descriptive, explanatory, and ontological.Christian List - 2017
    Scientists and philosophers frequently speak about levels of description, levels of explanation, and ontological levels. This paper presents a framework for studying levels. I give a general definition of a system of levels and discuss several applications, some of which refer to descriptive or explanatory levels while others refer to ontological levels. I illustrate the usefulness of this framework by bringing it to bear on some familiar philosophical questions. Is there a hierarchy of levels, with a fundamental level at the (...)
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  • Qualitative properties and relations.Jan Plate - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (4):1297-1322.
    This paper is concerned with two concepts of qualitativeness that apply to intensional entities. I propose an account of pure qualitativeness that largely follows the traditional understanding established by Carnap, and try to shed light on its ontological presuppositions. On this account, an intensional entity is purely qualitative iff it does not ‘involve’ any particular. An alternative notion of qualitativeness—which I propose to refer to as a concept of strict qualitativeness—has recently been introduced by Chad Carmichael. However, Carmichael’s definition presupposes (...)
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  • Physicalism and the burden of parsimony.Giacomo Zanotti - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):11109-11132.
    Parsimony considerations are ubiquitous in the literature concerning the nature of mental states. Other things being equal, physicalist views are preferred over dualist accounts on the grounds of the fact that they do not posit new fundamental properties in addition to the physical ones. This paper calls into question the widespread assumption that parsimony can provide reasons for believing that physicalism is a better candidate than dualism for solving the mind–body problem. After presenting the theoretical core of physicalism and dualism, (...)
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  • Consciousness, Neuroscience, and Physicalism: Pessimism About Optimistic Induction.Giacomo Zanotti - 2023 - Acta Analytica 38 (2):283-297.
    Nowadays, physicalism is arguably the received view on the nature of mental states. Among the arguments that have been provided in its favour, the inductive one seems to play a pivotal role in the debate. Leveraging the past success of materialistic science, the physicalist argues that a materialistic account of consciousness will eventually be provided, hence that physicalism is true. This article aims at evaluating whether this strategy can provide support for physicalism. According to the standard objection raised against the (...)
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Persons, Minds, and Bodies: Christian Philosophy on the Relationship of Persons and Their Bodies, Part I.Aku Visala - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (10):713-722.
    The relationship of minds, bodies, and persons has been a central topic of debate in Western philosophy and theology. This article reviews the ongoing debates about the relationship and nature of bodies, minds, and persons among contemporary Christian analytic philosophers and theologians. The first two parts present some general theological constraints for philosophical theories of persons and describe the basic concepts used (substance, property, supervenience, and physicalism). The views themselves fall into three broad categories. Dualists think that persons are either (...)
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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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  • The Rotten Core of Presentism.Jonathan Tallant & David Ingram - 2021 - 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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  • 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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  • Précis of ignorance and imagination.Daniel Stoljar - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (3):748-755.
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  • Das Observações Filosóficas_ à _Unidade da Ciência.David Gerald Stern - 2009 - Doispontos 6 (1).
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  • Why Naturalism cannot (Merely) be an Attitude.Thomas J. Spiegel - 2022 - Topoi 42 (3):745-752.
    Varying forms of ontological and methodological naturalism are among the most popular theses in contemporary philosophy. However, each of these theses faces a different dilemma: ontological naturalism is famously challenged by Hempel’s dilemma, while methodological naturalism faces issues regarding its coherence. Some prominent naturalists (Elpidorou and Dove 2018, Ney 2009, Rea 2002) have suggested to circumvent these respective dilemmas by reconceiving naturalism as an attitude (rather than a thesis). This paper argues that such attitude accounts are unsuccessful: naturalism as an (...)
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  • The inexorability of immortality: no need for God?Anna Smajdor - 2021 - Norsk Filosofisk Tidsskrift 56 (1):19-30.
    In this paper, I aim to show that a certain form of immortality, without the need for any intervention from a supernatural being, is almost inevitable for human beings. I take a physicalist starting point: I am a certain configuration of physical particles. Thus, if these particles were reassembled in the same configuration, I would necessarily come back into existence. I address a number of objections raised against this prospect by Eric T. Olson, who argues that the reassembly of such (...)
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  • The multiple-computations theorem and the physics of singling out a computation.Orly Shenker & Meir Hemmo - 2022 - The Monist 105 (1):175-193.
    The problem of multiple-computations discovered by Hilary Putnam presents a deep difficulty for functionalism (of all sorts, computational and causal). We describe in out- line why Putnam’s result, and likewise the more restricted result we call the Multiple- Computations Theorem, are in fact theorems of statistical mechanics. We show why the mere interaction of a computing system with its environment cannot single out a computation as the preferred one amongst the many computations implemented by the system. We explain why nonreductive (...)
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  • Verifying Feighner’s Hypothesis; Anorexia Nervosa Is Not a Psychiatric Disorder.Per Södersten, Ulf Brodin, Modjtaba Zandian & Cecilia E. K. Bergh - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 10.
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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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  • Kant Meets Cyberpunk.Eric Schwitzgebel - 2019 - Disputatio 11 (55).
    I defend a how-possibly argument for Kantian (or Kant*-ian) transcendental idealism, drawing on concepts from David Chalmers, Nick Bostrom, and the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction. If we are artificial intelligences living in a virtual reality instantiated on a giant computer, then the fundamental structure of reality might be very different than we suppose. Indeed, since computation does not require spatial properties, spatiality might not be a feature of things as they are in themselves but instead only the way that (...)
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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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  • A Physicalistic Account of Emergentism.Nicholas Schroeder - 2015 - Axiomathes 25 (4):479-494.
    Jaegwon Kim’s argument against non-reductive physicalism is well known. Many philosophers take Kim’s argument to also apply to emergentism. But this does not necessarily follow. In this paper, I will first briefly show why Kim’s argument against non-reductive physicalism need not apply to emergentism. Next, I will present a physicalistic account of emergentism offered by Jason Megill in his paper “A Defense of Emergence.” This will be followed by an examination of some of the limitations of Megill’s account, in particular, (...)
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  • Pandemic - Catalyst of the Virtualization of the Social Space.Antonio Sandu - 2020 - Postmodern Openings 11 (1Sup2):115-140.
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  • A causal argument for dualism.Bradford Saad - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (10):2475-2506.
    Dualism holds that some mental events are fundamental and non-physical. I develop a prima facie plausible causal argument for dualism. The argument has several significant implications. First, it constitutes a new way of arguing for dualism. Second, it provides dualists with a parity response to causal arguments for physicalism. Third, it transforms the dialectical role of epiphenomenalism. Fourth, it refutes the view that causal considerations prima facie support physicalism but not dualism. After developing the causal argument for dualism and drawing (...)
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  • Physicalism and Supervenience: A Case for a New Sense of Physical Duplication.Michael Roche - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (4):669-681.
    Physicalism is the view, roughly, that everything is physical. This thesis is often characterized in terms of a particular supervenience thesis. Central to this thesis is the idea of physical duplication. I argue that the standard way of understanding physical duplication leads—along with other claims—to a sub-optimal consequence for the physicalist. I block this consequence by shifting to an alternative sense of physical duplication. I then argue that physicalism is best characterized by a supervenience thesis that employs both the new (...)
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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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  • Thinking about Physicalism.Restrepo Ricardo - 2012 - Open Journal of Philosophy 2 (2):84.
    Physicalism, if it is to be a significant thesis, should differentiate itself from key metaphysical contenders which endorse the existence of platonic entities, emergent properties, Cartesian souls, angels, and God. Physicalism can never be true in worlds where things of these kinds exist. David Papineau, David Spurrett, and Barbara Montero have recently developed and defended two influential conceptions of physicalism. One is derived from a conception of the physical as the non-mentally-and-non-biologically identifiable. The other is derived from a conception of (...)
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  • Fundamentality physicalism.Gabriel Oak Rabin - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy (1):77-116.
    ABSTRACT This essay has three goals. The first is to introduce the notion of fundamentality and to argue that physicalism can usefully be conceived of as a thesis about fundamentality. The second is to argue for the advantages of fundamentality physicalism over modal formulations and that fundamentality physicalism is what many who endorse modal formulations of physicalism had in mind all along. Third, I describe what I take to be the main obstacle for a fundamentality-oriented formulation of physicalism: ‘the problem (...)
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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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  • A Normative Yet Coherent Naturalism.Steve Petersen - 2014 - Philo 17 (1):77-91.
    Naturalism is normally taken to be an ideology, censuring non-naturalistic alternatives. But as many critics have pointed out, this ideological stance looks internally incoherent, since it is not obviously endorsed by naturalistic methods. Naturalists who have addressed this problem universally foreswear the normative component of naturalism by, in effect, giving up science’s exclusive claim to legitimacy. This option makes naturalism into an empty expression of personal preference that can carry no weight in the philosophical or political spheres. In response to (...)
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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 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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  • 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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  • Microphysical Causation and the Case for Physicalism.Alyssa Ney - 2016 - Analytic Philosophy 57 (1):141-164.
    Physicalism is sometimes portrayed by its critics as a dogma, but there is an empirical argument for the position, one based on the accumulation of diverse microphysical causal explanations in physics, chemistry, and physiology. The canonical statement of this argument was presented in 2001 by David Papineau. The goal of this paper is to demonstrate a tension that arises between this way of understanding the empirical case for physicalism and a view that is becoming practically a received position in philosophy (...)
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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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  • Supervenience Physicalism, Emergentism, and the Polluted Supervenience Base.Kevin Morris - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (2):351-365.
    A prominent objection to supervenience physicalism is that a definition of physicalism in terms of supervenience allows for physicalism to be compatible with nonphysicalist outlooks, such as certain forms of emergentism. I take as my starting point a recent defense of supervenience physicalism from this objection. According to this line of thought, the subvenient base for emergent properties cannot be said to be purely physical; rather, it is “polluted” with emergent features in virtue of necessarily giving rise to them. Thus, (...)
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  • Making Room for a This-Worldly Physicalism.Barbara Gail Montero & Christopher Devlin Brown - 2018 - Topoi 37 (3):523-532.
    Physicalism is thought to entail that mental properties supervene on microphysical properties, or in other words that all God had to do was to create the fundamental physical properties and the rest came along for free. In this paper, we question the all-god-had-to-do reflex.
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  • Dynamical Systems Implementation of Intrinsic Sentence Meaning.Hermann Moisl - 2022 - Minds and Machines 32 (4):627-653.
    This paper proposes a model for implementation of intrinsic natural language sentence meaning in a physical language understanding system, where 'intrinsic' is understood as 'independent of meaning ascription by system-external observers'. The proposal is that intrinsic meaning can be implemented as a point attractor in the state space of a nonlinear dynamical system with feedback which is generated by temporally sequenced inputs. It is motivated by John Searle's well known (Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 3: 417–57, 1980) critique of the then-standard (...)
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  • The myth of cognitive agency: subpersonal thinking as a cyclically recurring loss of mental autonomy.Thomas Metzinger - 2013 - Frontiers in Psychology 4:931.
    This metatheoretical paper investigates mind wandering from the perspective of philosophy of mind. It has two central claims. The first is that, on a conceptual level, mind wandering can be fruitfully described as a specific form of mental autonomy loss. The second is that, given empirical constraints, most of what we call “conscious thought” is better analyzed as a subpersonal process that more often than not lacks crucial properties traditionally taken to be the hallmark of personal-level cognition - such as (...)
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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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  • What is at Stake in Debates among Normative Realists?Tristram McPherson - 2013 - Noûs 49 (1):123-146.
    One class of central debates between normative realists appears to concern whether we should be naturalists or reductionists about the normative. However, metaethical discussion of naturalism and reduction is often inconsistent, murky, or uninformative. This can make it hard to see why commitments relative to these metaphysical categories should matter to normative realists. This paper aims to clarify the nature of these categories, and their significance in debates between normative realists. I develop and defend what I call the joint-carving taxonomy, (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Science and Aim-Oriented Empiricism: A Revolution for Science and Philosophy.Nicholas Maxwell - 2019 - Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature.
    This book gives an account of work that I have done over a period of decades that sets out to solve two fundamental problems of philosophy: the mind-body problem and the problem of induction. Remarkably, these revolutionary contributions to philosophy turn out to have dramatic implications for a wide range of issues outside philosophy itself, most notably for the capacity of humanity to resolve current grave global problems and make progress towards a better, wiser world. A key element of the (...)
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  • On some unwarranted tacit assumptions in cognitive neuroscience.Rainer Mausfeld - 2012 - Frontiers in Cognition 3 (67):1-13.
    The cognitive neurosciences are based on the idea that the level of neurons or neural networks constitutes a privileged level of analysis for the explanation of mental phenomena. This paper brings to mind several arguments to the effect that this presumption is ill-conceived and unwarranted in light of what is currently understood about the physical principles underlying mental achievements. It then scrutinizes the question why such conceptions are nevertheless currently prevailing in many areas of psychology. The paper argues that corresponding (...)
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  • El naturalismo cientificista como pseudorreligión y anti-teología natural.Moisés Pérez Marcos - 2022 - Scientia et Fides 10 (1):73-90.
    Scientist naturalism as pseudo religion and anti-natural theology After exposing the basic ideas of the naturalistic worldview, an attempt is made to show that naturalism is an interpretation of science that has an inescapable "mythological" dimension, in the sense that Midgley gives to this expression. This does not discredit it on principle but means that we cannot accept it uncritically by the mere fact that it appeals to the natural sciences to justify its validity. It is then argued that the (...)
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  • A Skeptical View on the Physics-Consciousness Explanatory Gap.Mario Martinez-Saito - 2022 - Axiomathes 32 (6):1081-1110.
    The epistemological chasm between how we (implicitly and subjectively) perceive or imagine the actual world and how we (explicitly and “objectively”) 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, (...)
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  • Answering questions about consciousness by modeling perception as covert behavior.Gustav Markkula - 2015 - Frontiers in Psychology 6.
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  • Does Neuroplasticity Support the Hypothesis of Multiple Realizability?Amber Maimon & Meir Hemmo - 2022 - Philosophy of Science 89 (1):107-127.
    It is commonly maintained that neuroplastic mechanisms in the brain provide empirical support for the hypothesis of multiple realizability. We show in various case studies that neuroplasticity stems from preexisting mechanisms and processes inherent in the neural structure of the brain. We argue that not only does neuroplasticity fail to provide empirical evidence of multiple realization, its inability to do so strengthens the mind-body identity theory. Finally, we argue that a recently proposed identity theory called Flat Physicalism can be enlisted (...)
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