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Justin Tiehen
University of Puget Sound
  1. Explaining Causal Closure.Justin Tiehen - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (9):2405-2425.
    The physical realm is causally closed, according to physicalists like me. But why is it causally closed, what metaphysically explains causal closure? I argue that reductive physicalists are committed to one explanation of causal closure to the exclusion of any independent explanation, and that as a result, they must give up on using a causal argument to attack mind–body dualism. Reductive physicalists should view dualism in much the way that we view the hypothesis that unicorns exist, or that the Kansas (...)
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  2. How Counterpart Theory Saves Nonreductive Physicalism.Justin Tiehen - 2019 - Mind 128 (509):139-174.
    Nonreductive physicalism faces serious problems regarding causal exclusion, causal heterogeneity, and the nature of realization. In this paper I advance solutions to each of those problems. The proposed solutions all depend crucially on embracing modal counterpart theory. Hence, the paper’s thesis: counterpart theory saves nonreductive physicalism. I take as my inspiration the view that mental tokens are constituted by physical tokens in the same way statues are constituted by lumps of clay. I break from other philosophers who have pursued this (...)
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  3. Physicalism Requires Functionalism: A New Formulation and Defense of the Via Negativa.Justin Tiehen - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (1):3-24.
    How should ‘the physical’ be defined for the purpose of formulating physicalism? In this paper I defend a version of the via negativa according to which a property is physical just in case it is neither fundamentally mental nor possibly realized by a fundamentally mental property. The guiding idea is that physicalism requires functionalism, and thus that being a type identity theorist requires being a realizer-functionalist. In §1 I motivate my approach partly by arguing against Jessica Wilson's no fundamental mentality (...)
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  4. The Role Functionalist Theory of Absences.Justin Tiehen - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (3):505-519.
    Functionalist theories have been proposed for just about everything: mental states, dispositions, moral properties, truth, causation, and much else. The time has come for a functionalist theory of nothing. Or, more accurately, a role functionalist theory of those absences that are causes and effects.
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  5. Recent Work on Physicalism.Justin Tiehen - forthcoming - Analysis.
    A review of recent work on physicalism, focusing on what it means to say nothing exists over and above the physical, how "the physical" should be defined, and the causal argument for physicalism.
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  6. A Priori Scrutability and That’s All.Justin Tiehen - 2014 - Journal of Philosophy 111 (12):649-666.
    In his recent book Constructing the World, David Chalmers defends A Priori Scrutability, the thesis that there is a compact class of truths such that for any truth p, a Laplacian intellect could know a priori that if the truths in that class hold, then p. In this paper, I develop an objection to Chalmers’ thesis that focuses on his treatment of a so-called that’s-all truth. My objection draws on Theodore Sider’s discussion of border-sensitive properties, and also on the causal (...)
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    Metaphysics of the Bayesian Mind.Justin Tiehen - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    Recent years have seen a Bayesian revolution in cognitive science. This should be of interest to metaphysicians of science, whose naturalist project involves working out the metaphysical implications of our leading scientific accounts, and in advancing our understanding of those accounts by drawing on the metaphysical frameworks developed by philosophers. Toward these ends, in this paper I develop a metaphysics of the Bayesian mind. My central claim is that the Bayesian approach supports a novel empirical argument for normativism, the thesis (...)
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  8. The IKEA Effect & The Production of Epistemic Goods.Justin Tiehen - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-20.
    Behavioral economists have proposed that people are subject to an IKEA effect, whereby they attach greater value to products they make for themselves, like IKEA furniture, than to otherwise indiscernible goods. Recently, cognitive psychologist Tom Stafford has suggested there may be an epistemic analog to this, a kind of epistemic IKEA effect. In this paper, I use Stafford’s suggestion to defend a certain thesis about epistemic value. Specifically, I argue that there is a distinctive epistemic value in being an active (...)
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  9. Grounding Causal Closure.Justin Tiehen - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (3):501-522.
    What does it mean to say that mind-body dualism is causally problematic in a way that other mind-body theories, such as the psychophysical type identity theory, are not? After considering and rejecting various proposals, I advance my own, which focuses on what grounds the causal closure of the physical realm. A metametaphysical implication of my proposal is that philosophers working without the notion of grounding in their toolkit are metaphysically impoverished. They cannot do justice to the thought, encountered in every (...)
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  10. The Absentminded Professor.Justin Tiehen - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    In this paper, I argue that absences pose a challenge to our understanding of physicalism that has not been properly appreciated. I do this by setting out a thought experiment involving a being in whom absence properties occupy the causal roles that functionalists take to define mental properties, in which case these absence properties realize the being’s mental properties. Such a being should be compatible with the truth of physicalism, I argue, even though its mental properties are neither themselves physical (...)
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  11. Causation in Physics & in Phyiscalism.Justin Tiehen - forthcoming - Acta Analytica.
    It is widely thought that there is an important argument to be made that starts with premises taken from the science of physics and ends with the conclusion of physicalism. The standard view is that this argument takes the form of a causal argument for physicalism. Roughly: physics tells us that the physical realm is causally complete, and so minds (among other entities) must be physical if they are to interact with the world as we think they do. In what (...)
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  12. Perception as Controlled Hallucination.Justin Tiehen - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    “Perception is controlled hallucination,” according to proponents of predictive processing accounts of vision. I say they are right that something like this is a consequence of their view but wrong in how they have pursued the idea. The focus of my counterproposal is the causal theory of perception, which I develop in terms of a productive concept of causation. Cases of what otherwise seem like successful perception are instead mere veridical hallucination if predictive processing accounts are correct, I argue, because (...)
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  13. A Psychofunctionalist Argument Against Nonconceptualism.Justin Tiehen - 2014 - Synthese 191 (16):3919-3934.
    In this paper I present a psychofunctionalist argument for conceptualism, the thesis that conscious visual experience is a conceptual state rather than a nonconceptual state. The argument draws on the holistic character of functionalist accounts of mind, together with the “Two Visual Systems Hypothesis” notably defended by Melvyn Goodale and David Milner.
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