The first-personal argument against physicalism


The aim of this paper is to discuss a seemingly straightforward argument against physicalism which, despite being implicit in much of the philosophical debate about consciousness, has not received the attention it deserves (compared to other, better-known “epistemic”, “modal”, and “conceivability” arguments). This is the argument from the non-supervenience of the first-personal (and indexical) facts on the third-personal (and non-indexical) ones. This non-supervenience, together with the assumption that the physical facts (at least as conventionally understood) are third-personal, entails that some facts – namely, first-personal, phenomenal ones – do not supervene on the physical facts. Interestingly, unlike other arguments against physicalism, the first-personal argument, if successful, refutes not only physicalism but also other purely third-personal metaphysical pictures.

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Christian List
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München


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