David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In Materialism and the Mind-Body Problem. Hackett (2000)
Mind-body materialism is at its most inviting in the context of trying to give a unified treatment of the natural world. And the principle challenge it faces is to do justice to the distinguishing features of mental phenomena, which set them off from nonmental, physical reality. This challenge it not easy to meet. In 1971 I suggested that the difficulty in meeting it makes especially appealing the eliminative materialism of Feyerabend and Rorty. If adopting the materialist view that mental phenomena are physical in nature prevents us from giving a satisfactory account of what is distinctive about the mental, perhaps the trouble is not with materialism but with the mental. If we can describe and explain everything about the world in physical terms but cannot give a satisfactory account of the distinctively mental, why not conclude that there simply are no mental states and events? Physical terms would then suffice to describe and explain the phenomena we now classify as mental. Even if describing and explaining these things physically is not a practical option, the possibility of doing so would underwrite the eliminative materialist position
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