How to be a type-C physicalist

Philosophical Studies 164 (2):301-320 (2013)
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 and physical truths. The two are generally seen as incompatible, since the demon’s deductions seem to presuppose analytic connections between physical and phenomenal terms. I begin by arguing, in support of the APET, that implications from the complete truths of physics to phenomenal truths cannot be a posteriori. Such implications are (according to the physicalist) necessarily true. But they cannot be Kripke-style a posteriori necessities, since (according to the physicalist) the complete truths of physics fix any relevant a posteriori facts about the reference of terms. I then show how the physicalist can turn the tables: the demon can exploit the physical fixing of reference to bridge the gap between the vocabularies, by deducing when phenomenal and physical terms co-refer. This opens the way for a “type-C” physicalism, which accepts in-principle deducibility while still appealing to analytic independence to explain why we (who are not demons) find it impossible to see phenomenal-physical connections a priori.
Keywords Phenomenal consciousness  Type-C  Physicalism   A priori entailment thesis  Analytic independence  Cosmic hermeneutics
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-9854-2
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Frank Jackson (1982). Epiphenomenal Qualia. Philosophical Quarterly 32 (April):127-136.
Saul Kripke (2010). Naming and Necessity. In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Philosophy. Routledge 431-433.

View all 27 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Katalin Balog (2012). In Defense of the Phenomenal Concept Strategy1. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (1):1-23.
E. Diaz-Leon (2009). How Many Explanatory Gaps Are There? APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers 8 (2):33-35.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

52 ( #65,834 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

8 ( #84,767 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.