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Summary Physicalism about the mind is the metaphysical view that all mental phenomena are ultimately physical phenomena, or necessitated by physical phenomena. There are various mental-physical relations proposed by physicalists to account for their claim. One relation is identity. Identity based physicalism about the mind takes two forms: token physicalism (which asserts that all token mental states are identical to a physical or neural state), and type physicalism (according to which all types of mental states are identical to types of physical or neural states). Another proposed relation is supervenience. Supervenience based physicalism about the mind is a form of type physicalism and it takes two main forms: a priori physicalism (the view that mental truths are a priori deducible from the totality of physical truths) and a posteriori physicalism (the view that mental truths are a posteriori or empirically necessitated by the totality of physical truths).
Key works Identity based physicalism was first proposed by Place 1956, Feigl 1958, and Smart 1959. Token identity based physicalism is taken to originate with Davidson 1963. Explicitly type identity based physicalist approaches are to be found in Lewis 1970 and in Armstrong 1968. An account of the distinction between a priori and a posteriori supervenience based physicalism is given in Chalmers 1996 and in Stoljar 2000. Particular a priori physicalist approaches are to be found in Dennett 1991Dretske 1995Lewis 1990Rey 1995. Particular a posteriroi physicalist approaches appear in Loar 1990Papineau 1993Tye 1995Hill 1997Balog 1999Block & Stalnaker 1999Balog 2012.
Introductions Stoljar 2001
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  2. Peter Achinstein (1962). The Identity Hypothesis. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 13 (50):167-171.
  3. Richard Acworth (1963). Smart on Free-Will. Mind 72 (286):271-272.
  4. Joseph Agassi (1991). Wittgenstein and Physicalism. Grazer Philosophische Studien 41:67-97.
    In the light of a sketch of the history of modem Anti-Metaphysics up from Francis Bacon Wittgenstein's position - the refusal of the possibility of metaphysical assertions - is compared with the views of Mach, of Camap and Neurath and of Popper. Analysing the notions of 'nonsense', 'meaninglessness' and 'Scheinproblem', their interrelations and connections to physicalism three variants of Anti-Metaphysics are distinguished: the Enlightenment view, the positivistMachian view and the linguistic Wittgensteinian view. The present day actuality of these views is (...)
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  5. Gordon Alley-Young (2005). Coupland and Gwyn's Collection on Discourse, Body, Identity. American Journal of Semiotics 21 (1/4):152-154.
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  6. Torin Alter (2002). Nagel on Imagination and Physicalism. Journal of Philosophical Research 27:143-58.
    In "What is it Like to be a Bat?" Thomas Nagel argues that we cannot imagine what it is like to be a bat or presently understand how physicalism might be true. Both arguments have been seriously misunderstood. I defend them against various objections, point out a problem with the argument against physicalism, and show how the problem can be solved.
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  7. István Aranyosi (2014). New Perspectives on Type Identity: The Mental and the Physical, Edited by Simone Gozzano and Christopher S. Hill. Mind 123 (490):605-609.
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  8. Thomas Aristotle, Robert Taylor, Simplicius & Wilks (1806). The Physics, or Physical Auscultation of Aristotle. Printed for the Translator, Manor-Place, Walworth, Surrey; by Robert Wilks, 89, Chancer-Lane, Fleet-Street.
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  9. A. MacC Armstrong (1973). On Methodological Materialism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 34 (1):62-72.
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  10. D. M. Armstrong (2006). Reply to Smart. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (2):177 – 178.
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  11. D. M. Armstrong (1972). Materialism, Properties and Predicates. The Monist 56 (2):163-176.
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  12. L. Arons & F. W. Irwin (1932). Equal Weights and Psychophysical Judgments. Journal of Experimental Psychology 15 (6):733.
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  13. Bruce Aune (1988). Herbert Feigl. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988 (2):23 - 24.
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  14. H. B. (1969). The Categories of Dialectical Materialism. Review of Metaphysics 22 (4):761-762.
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  16. Gaston Bachelard (1953). Le Matérialisme Rationnel. Presses Universitaires de France.
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  17. Lynne Rudder Baker (2001). Materialism with a Human Face. In Kevin J. Corcoran (ed.), Soul, Body, and Survival. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
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  18. David Barnett (2010). You Are Simple. In Robert C. Koons & George Bealer (eds.), The Waning of Materialism. Oxford University Press. 161--174.
    I argue that, unlike your brain, you are not composed of other things: you are simple. My argument centers on what I take to be an uncontroversial datum: for any pair of conscious beings, it is impossible for the pair itself to be conscious. Consider, for instance, the pair comprising you and me. You might pinch your arm and feel a pain. I might simultaneously pinch my arm and feel a qualitatively identical pain. But the pair we form would not (...)
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  19. S. Baron-Cohen (2002). Abelson. RP 185,195 Arbib, MA 57, 64,185,194 Armstrong, D. 33 Asperger, H. 186,191,194. In Jérôme Dokic & Joëlle Proust (eds.), Simulation and Knowledge of Action. John Benjamins. 45--265.
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  20. Pierfrancesco Basile (2012). Materialist Vs. Panexperientialist Physicalism. Process Studies 39 (2):264-284.
    This paper provides a brief critique of Jaegwon Kim’s evaluation of the achievements of materialist physicalism and then goes on to examine the case for panpsychism and the main objection that has been raised against it, i.e., the composition problem. The object of this examination is to lay bare the fundamental assumptions underlying both the main argument in support of the theory and the objection against it. Whitehead’s panexperientialism has a fair claim to be regarded as the most elaborate version (...)
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  21. P. K. Bastable (1967). Mind, Matter and Method. Philosophical Studies 16:332-333.
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  22. José Luis Bermúdez (2005). Arguing for Eliminativism. In Brian L. Keeley (ed.), Paul Churchland. Cambridge University Press.
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  23. Richard J. Bernstein (1968). The Challenge of Scientific Materialism. International Philosophical Quarterly 8 (2):252-275.
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  24. L. Stafford Betty (2004). Mind, Paranormal Experience, and the Inadequacy of Materialism. International Philosophical Quarterly 44 (3):373-392.
    Contemporary materialist theories purporting to account for experience are seriously flawed, for they fail to accommodate the full range of human experience, especially paranormal experience. Substance Dualism (SD) is re-examined in light of this experience,including telepathy and clairvoyance, mediumship, the near-death experience, and reincarnation cases involving children’s memories. A different kind of materialism postulating degrees of fi neness and vibration—one prefigured by the ancient Stoics and developed hereunder the heading Transcendental Materialism (TM)—is also explored. The inadequacies of both reductive and (...)
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  25. John Bickle (2007). A Physicalist Manifesto: Thoroughly Modern Materialism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):262–264.
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  26. John Bickle (1992). Revisionary Physicalism. Biology and Philosophy 7 (4):411-30.
    The focus of much recent debate between realists and eliminativists about the propositional attitudes obscures the fact that a spectrum of positions lies between these celebrated extremes. Appealing to an influential theoretical development in cognitive neurobiology, I argue that there is reason to expect such an “intermediate” outcome. The ontology that emerges is a revisionary physicalism. The argument draws lessons about revisionistic reductions from an important historical example, the reduction of equilibrium thermodynamics to statistical mechanics, and applies them to the (...)
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  27. James Blachowicz (2013). The Constraint Interpretation of Physical Emergence. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 44 (1):21-40.
    I develop a variant of the constraint interpretation of the emergence of purely physical (non-biological) entities, focusing on the principle of the non-derivability of actual physical states from possible physical states (physical laws) alone. While this is a necessary condition for any account of emergence, it is not sufficient, for it becomes trivial if not extended to types of constraint that specifically constitute physical entities, namely, those that individuate and differentiate them. Because physical organizations with these features are in fact (...)
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  28. Max Black (1946). Some Questions About Materialism. Philosophical Review 55 (5):572-579.
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  29. Andreas Blank (2013). Fortunio Liceti on Mind, Light, and Immaterial Extension. Perspectives on Science 21 (3):358-378.
    In the history of seventeenth-century philosophy, the distinction between material and immaterial extension is closely associated with the Cambridge Platonist Henry More (1614–1687). The aspect of More’s conception of immaterial extension that proved most influential is his theory of absolute divine space. Very plausibly, the Newtonian conception of space owes a great deal to More’s views on space. More’s views on space in turn were closely linked to his views on the nature of individual spirits—the souls of brutes and humans, (...)
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  30. Tomas Bogardus (unknown). Two Wrong Turns for Type-Identity Physicalism. Philosophical Studies 87:61 - 85.
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  31. Mašan Bogdanovski (1996). Kripke's Critique of the Mind-Body Identity Theory. Theoria 39 (1):23-38.
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  32. Adrian Boutel (2013). How to Be a Type-C Physicalist. Philosophical Studies 164 (2):301-320.
    This paper advances a version of physicalism which reconciles the “a priori entailment thesis” (APET) with the analytic independence of our phenomenal and physical vocabularies. The APET is the claim that, if physicalism is true, the complete truths of physics imply every other truth a priori. If so, “cosmic hermeneutics” is possible: a demon having only complete knowledge of physics could deduce every truth about the world. Analytic independence is a popular physicalist explanation for the apparent “epistemic gaps” between phenomenal (...)
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  33. Amalla Boyer (2001). Ontological Materialism and the Problem of Politics. Pli: The Warwick Journal of Philosophy 12:174-199.
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  34. Dennis E. Bradford (1983). Scientific Materialism. Review of Metaphysics 37 (2):393-394.
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  35. John Bricke (1975). Interaction and Physiology. Mind 84 (April):255-9.
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  36. John Bricke (1973). The Attribute Theory of Mind. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 51 (December):226-237.
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  37. Stuart M. Brown (1980). Harold R. Smart 4 May 1892 - 22 November 1979. Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 53 (3):389 - 390.
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  38. Tyler Burge (2009). Modest Dualism. In Robert C. Koons & George Bealer (eds.), The Waning of Materialism: New Essays. Oxford University Press.
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  39. Claudio Calosi & Vincenzo Fano (forthcoming). A Threat for Physicalism: A New Gedankenexperiment. Epistemologia.
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  40. Nicholas Capaldi (1972). Metaphysics and Materialism. Journal of Critical Analysis 4 (2):41-51.
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  41. Leonard S. Carrier (1981). Event Identity and a Significant Physicalism. Southern Journal of Philosophy 19 (2):171-180.
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  42. Hugh S. Chandler (1971). A Note in Defense of Personal Materialism. Philosophical Studies 22 (4):61 - 64.
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  43. Andrea Christofidou (2007). God, Physicalism, and the Totality of Facts. Philosophy 82 (4):515-542.
    The paper offers a general critique of physicalism and of one variety of nonphysicalism, arguing that such theses are untenable. By distinguishing between the absolute conception of reality and the causal completeness of physics it shows that the 'explanatory gap' is not merely epistemic but metaphysical. It defends the essential subjectivity and unity of consciousness and its inseparability from a self-conscious autonomous rational and moral being. Casting a favourable light on dualism freed from misconceptions, it suggests that the only plausible (...)
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  44. Paul M. Churchland (2007). The Evolving Fortunes of Eliminative Materialism. In Brian P. McLaughlin & Jonathan D. Cohen (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell.
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  45. Paul M. Churchland (1981). Eliminative Materialism and the Propositional Attitudes. Journal of Philosophy 78 (February):67-90.
    This article describes a theory of the computations underlying the selection of coordinated motion patterns, especially in reaching tasks. The central idea is that when a spatial target is selected as an object to be reached, stored postures are evaluated for the contributions they can make to the task. Weights are assigned to the stored postures, and a single target posture is found by taking a weighted sum of the stored postures. Movement is achieved by reducing the distance between the (...)
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  46. William Kingdon Clifford, Frederick Pollock & Leslie Stephen (1968). Lectures and Essays. Macmillan.
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  47. Robert S. Cohen (1991). Bibliography of the Writings of Herbert Feigl. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 22 (1):195-200.
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    Some materialists argue that we can eliminate mental entities such as sensations because, like electrons, they are theoretical entities postulated as parts of scientific explanations, but, unlike electrons, they are unnecessary for such explanations. As Quine says, any explanatory role of mental entities can be played by "correlative physiological states and events instead." But sensations are not postulated theoretical entities. This is shown by proposing definitions of the related terms, 'observation term,' and 'theoretical term,' and then classifying the term 'sensation.' (...)
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  50. J. Cover & John Hawthorne (1996). Free Agency and Materialism. In Daniel Howard-Snyder & J. Scott Jordan (eds.), Faith, Freedom, and Rationality. Rowman and Littlefield.
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