Current Physics and 'the Physical'

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
Physicalism is the claim that that there is nothing in the world but the physical. Philosophers who defend physicalism have to confront a well-known dilemma, known as Hempel’s dilemma, concerning the definition of ‘the physical’: if ‘the physical’ is whatever current physics says there is, then physicalism is most probably false; but if ‘the physical’ is whatever the true theory of physics would say that there is, we have that physicalism is vacuous and runs the risk of becoming trivial. This article has two parts. The first, negative, part is devoted to developing a criticism of the so-called via negativa response to Hempel’s dilemma. In the second, more substantial, part, I propose to take the first horn of Hempel’s dilemma. However, I argue for a broad construal of ‘current physics’ and characterize ‘the physical’ accordingly. The virtues of the broad characterization of ‘the physical’ are: first, it makes physicalism less likely to be false; and second, it ties our understanding of ‘the physical’ to the reasons we have for believing in physicalism. That is, it fulfills the desideratum of construing our theses according to the reasons we have to believe in them
Keywords
No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories
(categorize this paper)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
VICCPA
Revision history
Archival date: 2015-11-21
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

View all 26 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Physicalism.Tiehen, Justin
Emergence, Closure and Inter-Level Causation in Biological Systems.Mossio, Matteo; Bich, Leonardo & Moreno, Alvaro

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

Added to PP index
2011-02-26

Total views
494 ( #5,060 of 39,647 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
33 ( #14,800 of 39,647 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.