Can Ockham's razor cut through the mind-body problem? A critical examination of Churchland's "Raze dualism" argument for materialism
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 21 (1):46-60 (2001)
Notes that the question of materialism's adequacy as a solution to the mind-body problem is important in psychology as fields supported by eliminative materialism aim to "cannibalize" psychology . A common argument for adopting a materialistic worldview, termed the "Raze Dualism argument" in reference to Ockham's razor, is based on the principle of parsimony. It states that materialism is to be considered the superior solution to the mind-body problem because it is simpler than the dualist alternative. In this paper, a prominent version of this argument is critiqued via an analysis of each of its premises. Illustrative in general of the limitations of materialism, this argument is undermined by assumptions which do not withstand scrutiny. First, Ockham's razor is shown to be a problematic principle. Second, the question of empirical superiority or equality is unresolved. Finally, there are other alternatives to materialism that are equally parsimonious, such as idealism. The result of the argument is to reopen the case for idealism and dualism and to force the issue to be determined on other grounds. 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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