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Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2001)
Physicalism is the thesis that everything is physical, or as contemporary philosophers sometimes put it, that everything supervenes on, or is necessitated by, the physical. The thesis is usually intended as a metaphysical thesis, parallel to the thesis attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher Thales, that everything is water, or the idealism of the 18th Century philosopher Berkeley, that everything is mental. The general idea is that the nature of the actual world (i.e. the universe and everything in it) conforms to a certain condition, the condition of being physical. Of course, physicalists don't deny that the world might contain many items that at first glance don't seem physical — items of a biological, or psychological, or moral, or social nature. But they insist nevertheless that at the end of the day such items are either physical or supervene on the physical
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Citations of this work BETA
Eric Schwitzgebel (2015). If Materialism is True, the United States is Probably Conscious. Philosophical Studies 172 (7):1697-1721.
Alyssa Ney (2008). Defining Physicalism. Philosophy Compass 3 (5):1033-1048.
Michael Roche (forthcoming). Physicalism and Supervenience: A Case for a New Sense of Physical Duplication. Erkenntnis:1-13.
Raphaël Fiorese (2016). Stoljar’s Dilemma and Three Conceptions of the Physical: A Defence of the Via Negativa. Erkenntnis 81 (2):201-229.
Andreas Elpidorou (2015). A Posteriori Physicalism and Introspection. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (1).
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