David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Grazer Philosophische Studien 63 (1):302-340 (2002)
Jaegwon Kim argues that one should distinguish naturalism from materialism, and that both should be construed as ontological rather than epistemological. I agree, on both counts. Although I have sometimes tended to slur together materialism and naturalism in of my writings (as is done in much recent philosophy), I do think that it is important to distinguish them. It is a serious philosophical task to get clearer about how each position is best articulated, and about ways that one could embrace naturalism without embracing materialism. British emergentism, for example, seems reasonably classified as a position that is naturalist but not materialist (and evidently the British emergentists themselves construed their view this way). Here are two key tenets of British emergentism, both of which seem to disqualify the view from being a form of materialism without thereby disqualifying it as a form of naturalism: (E.1) There are emergent properties in nature, in the following sense: although (i) these properties are supervenient on certain other properties, the relevant supervenience facts are ontologically sui generis (and hence are unexplainable). (E.2) Emergent properties are fundamental force generating properties , in this sense: they produce additional fundamental forces that affect the distribution of matter, above and beyond the fundamental forces posited in physics. A position worth of the label “materialism,” it seems to me, should preclude both of these emergentist theses. My notion of superdupervenience is intended as a condition that any version of materialism should satisfy, and is supposed to be incompatible with theses (E.1) and (E.2). Although sometimes, as in Horgan and Timmons (1992) and Horgan (1994), the condition is articulated in terms of the need for supervenience to be explainable “in a naturalistically acceptable way” (thereby slurring the naturalism/materialism distinction), what I had in mind was that supervenience relations must be explainable in a materialistically acceptable way..
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