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A Physicalist Manifesto: Thoroughly Modern Materialism

Cambridge University Press (2003)

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  1. Mental Causation, Compatibilism and Counterfactuals.Dwayne Moore - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (1):20-42.
    According to proponents of the causal exclusion problem, there cannot be a sufficient physical cause and a distinct mental cause of the same piece of behaviour. Increasingly, the causal exclusion problem is circumvented via this compatibilist reasoning: a sufficient physical cause of the behavioural effect necessitates the mental cause of the behavioural effect, so the effect has a sufficient physical cause and a mental cause as well. In this paper, I argue that this compatibilist reply fails to resolve the causal (...)
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  • Ectoplasm Earth.Justin Tiehen - 2012 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 42 (3-4):167-185.
    What does it mean to say that the mental is nothing over and above the physical? In other words, what exactly is the thesis of physicalism about the mental? The question has not received the philosophical attention it deserves. If that sounds woefully uninformed, it's probably because you are mistaking my restricted thesis of physicalism about the mental for the unrestricted thesis of physicalism simpliciter. Physicalism simpliciter is the doctrine that everything is physical; equivalently, that there is nothing over and (...)
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  • Mind–Brain Identity and Evidential Insulation.Jakob Hohwy - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 153 (3):377-395.
    Is it rational to believe that the mind is identical to the brain? Identity theorists say it is (or looks like it will be, once all the neuroscientific evidence is in), and they base this claim on a general epistemic route to belief in identity. I re-develop this general route and defend it against some objections. Then I discuss how rational belief in mind–brain identity, obtained via this route, can be threatened by an appropriately adjusted version of the anti-physicalist knowledge (...)
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  • The Physical: Empirical, Not Metaphysical.J. L. Dowell, & Janice Dowell - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 131 (1):25-60.
    2. The Contingency and A posteriority Constraint: A formulation of the thesis must make physicalism come out contingent and a posteriori. First, physicalism is a contingent truth, if it is a truth. This means that physicalism could have been false, i.e. there are counterfactual worlds in which physicalism is false, for example, counterfactual worlds in which there are miracle -performing angels.[9] Moreover, if physicalism is true, our knowledge of its truth is a posteriori. This is to say that there are (...)
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  • Formulating the Thesis of Physicalism: An Introduction.Janice Dowell - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 131 (1):1-23.
  • Causal Exclusion and Dependent Overdetermination.Dwayne Moore - 2012 - Erkenntnis 76 (3):319-335.
    Jaegwon Kim argues that unreduced mental causes are excluded from efficacy because physical causes are sufficient in themselves. One response to this causal exclusion argument is to embrace some form of overdetermination. In this paper I consider two forms of overdetermination. Independent overdetermination suggests that two individually sufficient causes bring about one effect. This model fails because the sufficiency of one cause renders the other cause unnecessary. Dependent overdetermination suggests that a physical cause is necessary and sufficient for a given (...)
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  • Two Kinds of Role Property.Douglas Keaton - 2010 - Philosophia 38 (4):773-788.
    The realization relation is commonly explicated via, or identified with, the causal role playing relation. However, the realization relation does not formally match the causal role playing relation. While realization is a relation between a base realizer property and a single higher level realized property, I argue that the causal role playing relation as typically defined is a relation between a base property and two higher-level role properties. Advocates of using causal role playing to explicate realization must therefore decide which (...)
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  • Realization and the Formulation of Physicalism.Andrew Melnyk - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 131 (1):127-155.
    Twenty years ago, Richard Boyd suggested that physicalism could be formulated by appeal to a notion of realization, with no appeal to the identity of the non-physical with the physical. In, I developed this suggestion at length, on the basis of one particular account of realization. I now ask what happens if you try to formulate physicalism on the basis of other accounts of realization, accounts due to LePore and Loewer and to Shoemaker. Having explored two new formulations of physicalism, (...)
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  • How to Be a Type-C Physicalist.Adrian Boutel - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (2):301-320.
    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 (...)
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  • Quantum Mechanics and the Plight of Physicalism.Fernando Birman - 2009 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 40 (2):207-225.
    The literature on physicalism often fails to elucidate, I think, what the word physical in physical ism precisely means. Philosophers speak at times of an ideal set of fundamental physical facts, or they stipulate that physical means non-mental , such that all fundamental physical facts are fundamental facts pertaining to the non-mental. In this article, I will probe physicalism in the very much tangible framework of quantum mechanics. Although this theory, unlike “ideal physics” or some “final theory of non-mentality”, is (...)
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  • Physicalism as an Attitude.Alyssa Ney - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 138 (1):1 - 15.
    It is widely noted that physicalism, taken as the doctrine that the world contains just what physics says it contains, faces a dilemma which, some like Tim Crane and D.H. Mellor have argued, shows that “physicalism is the wrong answer to an essentially trivial question”. I argue that both problematic horns of this dilemma drop out if one takes physicalism not to be a doctrine of the kind that might be true, false, or trivial, but instead an attitude or oath (...)
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  • How to Be a (Sort of) A Priori Physicalist.D. Gene Witmer - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 131 (1):185-225.
    What has come to be known as “a priori physicalism” is the thesis, roughly, that the non-physical truths in the actual world can be deduced a priori from a complete physical description of the actual world. To many contemporary philosophers, a priori physicalism seems extremely implausible. In this paper I distinguish two kinds of a priori physicalism. One sort – strict a priori physicalism – I reject as both unmotivated and implausible. The other sort – liberal a priori physicalism – (...)
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  • A Liberal Conception of Multiple Realizability.Eric Funkhouser - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 132 (3):467-494.
    While the concept of multiple realizability is widely used, it is seldom rigorously characterized. This paper defends a liberal conception of multiple realizability as sameness of type through _any_ differences in the (lower-level) conditions that give rise to instances of that type. This kind of “sameness through difference” is contrasted with another type of asymmetric dependency relation between properties, multiple _specification_. This liberal conception is then defended from objections, and it is augmented by a concept of relativized multiple realizability. The (...)
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  • Mental Causation From the Top-Down.William Jaworski - 2006 - Erkenntnis 65 (2):277-299.
    Dual-attribute theories are alleged to face a problem with mental causation which commits them to either epiphenomenalism or overdetermination – neither of which is attractive. The problem, however, is predicated on assumptions about psychophysical relations that dual-attribute theorists are not obliged to accept. I explore one way they can solve the problem by rejecting those assumptions.
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  • Can an Appeal to Constitution Solve the Exclusion Problem?Alyssa Ney - 2007 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 88 (4):486–506.
    Jaegwon Kim has argued that unless mental events are reducible to subvening physical events, they are at best overdeterminers of their effects. Recently, nonreductive physicalists have endorsed this consequence claiming that the relationship between mental events and their physical bases is tight enough to render any such overdetermination nonredundant, and hence benign. I focus on instances of this strategy that appeal to the notion of constitution. Ultimately, I argue that there is no way to understand the relationship between irreducible mental (...)
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  • The Modal Status of Materialism.Joseph Levine & Kelly Trogdon - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 145 (3):351 - 362.
    Argument that Lewis and others are wrong that physicalism is if true then contingently true.
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  • By Our Bootstraps.Karen Bennett - 2011 - Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):27-41.
    Recently much has been made of the grounding relation, and of the idea that it is intimately tied to fundamentality. If A grounds B, then A is more fundamental than B (though not vice versa ), and A is ungrounded if and only if it is fundamental full stop—absolutely fundamental. But here is a puzzle: is grounding itself absolutely fundamental?
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  • Žingsniai Link Antifizikalizmo.Mariusz Grygianiec - 2016 - Problemos 89:7.
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  • Neo-Positivist Metaphysics.Alyssa Ney - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (1):53-78.
    Some philosophers argue that many contemporary debates in metaphysics are “illegitimate,” “shallow,” or “trivial,” and that “contemporary analytic metaphysics, a professional activity engaged in by some extremely intelligent and morally serious people, fails to qualify as part of the enlightened pursuit of objective truth, and should be discontinued” (Ladyman and Ross, Every thing must go: Metaphysics naturalized , 2007 ). Many of these critics are explicit about their sympathies with Rudolf Carnap and his circle, calling themselves ‘neo-positivists’ or ‘neo-Carnapians.’ Yet (...)
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  • Physicalism in an Infinitely Decomposable World.Barbara Montero - 2006 - Erkentnis 64 (2):177-191.
    Might the world be structured, as Leibniz thought, so that every part of matter is divided ad infinitum? The Physicist David Bohm accepted infinitely decomposable matter, and even Steven Weinberg, a staunch supporter of the idea that science is converging on a final theory, admits the possibility of an endless chain of ever more fundamental theories. However, if there is no fundamental level, physicalism, thought of as the view that everything is determined by fundamental phenomena and that all fundamental phenomena (...)
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  • In Defense of the Phenomenal Concept Strategy1.Katalin Balog - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (1):1-23.
    During the last two decades, several different anti-physicalist arguments based on an epistemic or conceptual gap between the phenomenal and the physical have been proposed. The most promising physicalist line of defense in the face of these arguments – the Phenomenal Concept Strategy – is based on the idea that these epistemic and conceptual gaps can be explained by appeal to the nature of phenomenal concepts rather than the nature of non-physical phenomenal properties. Phenomenal concepts, on this proposal, involve unique (...)
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  • Construction Area (No Hard Hat Required).Karen Bennett - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (1):79-104.
    A variety of relations widely invoked by philosophers—composition, constitution, realization, micro-basing, emergence, and many others—are species of what I call ‘building relations’. I argue that they are conceptually intertwined, articulate what it takes for a relation to count as a building relation, and argue that—contra appearances—it is an open possibility that these relations are all determinates of a common determinable, or even that there is really only one building relation.
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  • Taking Realization Seriously: No Cure for Epiphobia. [REVIEW]Sven Walter - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (2):207 - 226.
    The realization relation that allegedly holds between mental and physical properties plays a crucial role for so-called non-reductive physicalism because it is supposed to secure both the ontological autonomy of mental properties and, despite their irreducibility, their ability to make a causal difference to the course of the causally closed physical world. For a long time however, the nature of realization has largely been ignored in the philosophy of mind until a couple of years ago authors like Carl Gillett, Derk (...)
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  • Realization and Multiple Realization, Chicken and Egg.Thomas W. Polger - 2013 - European Journal of Philosophy 23 (4):862-877.
    A common view is that the truth of multiple realization—e.g., about psychological states—entails the truth of functionalism. This is supposed to follow because what is multiply realized is eo ipso realized. I argue that view is mistaken by demonstrating how it misrepresents arguments from multiple realization. In particular, it undermines the empirical component of the arguments, and renders the multiplicity of the realization irrelevant. I suggest an alternative reading of multiple realizability arguments, particularly in philosophy of psychology. And I explain (...)
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  • Physicalism and Supervenience: A Case for a New Sense of Physical Duplication.Michael Roche - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (4):669-681.
    Physicalism is the view, roughly, that everything is physical. This thesis is often characterized in terms of a particular supervenience thesis. Central to this thesis is the idea of physical duplication. I argue that the standard way of understanding physical duplication leads—along with other claims—to a sub-optimal consequence for the physicalist. I block this consequence by shifting to an alternative sense of physical duplication. I then argue that physicalism is best characterized by a supervenience thesis that employs both the new (...)
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  • Physicalism and Moorean Supervenience.Thomas W. Polger - 2013 - Analytic Philosophy 54 (1):72-92.
    G. E. Moore argues that goodness is an intrinsic non-natural property that supervenes irreducibly on the intrinsic natural properties of its bearers. Accordingly, it is often supposed that “Moorean” supervenience is incompatible with physicalism, a naturalistic thesis. In this paper I argue that Moorean supervenience is not in itself incompatible with physicalism, Moore’s ethical non-naturalism notwithstanding. Understanding why will help us to better appreciate the full range of resources available to physicalists.
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  • Causal Powers and the Necessity of Realization.Umut Baysan - 2017 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 25 (4):525-531.
    Non-reductive physicalists hold that mental properties are realized by physical properties. The realization relation is typically taken to be a metaphysical necessitation relation. Here, I explore how the metaphysical necessitation feature of realization can be explained by what is known as ‘the subset view’ of realization. The subset view holds that the causal powers that are associated with a realized property are a proper subset of the causal powers that are associated with the realizer property. I argue that the said (...)
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  • The Explanatory Role of Irreducible Properties.Michael Strevens - 2012 - Noûs 46 (4):754-780.
    I aim to reconcile two apparently conflicting theses: (a) Everything that can be explained, can be explained in purely physical terms, that is, using the machinery of fundamental physics, and (b) some properties that play an explanatory role in the higher level sciences are irreducible in the strong sense that they are physically undefinable: their nature cannot be described using the vocabulary of physics. I investigate the contribution that physically undefinable properties typically make to explanations in the high-level sciences, and (...)
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  • Realization and the Metaphysics of Mind.Thomas W. Polger - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):233 – 259.
    According to the received view in philosophy of mind, mental states or properties are _realized_ by brain states or properties but are not identical to them. This view is often called _realization_ _physicalism_. Carl Gillett has recently defended a detailed formulation of the realization relation. However, Gillett’s formulation cannot be the relation that realization physicalists have in mind. I argue that Gillett’s “dimensioned” view of realization fails to apply to a textbook case of realization. I also argue Gillett counts as (...)
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  • Toward a Pragmatically Naturalist Metaphysics of the Fact-Value Entanglement.Sami Pihlström - 2010 - Journal of Philosophical Research 35:323-352.
    This paper examines the metaphysical status of the fact-value entanglement. According to Hilary Putnam, among others, this is a major theme in both classical and recent pragmatism, but its relevance obviously extends beyond pragmatism scholarship. The pragmatic naturalist must make sense of the entanglement thesis within a broadly non-reductively naturalist account of reality. Two rival options for such metaphysics are discussed: values may be claimed to emerge from facts, or fact and value may be considered continuous. Thus, pragmatic naturalism about (...)
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  • Realization Relations in Metaphysics.Umut Baysan - 2015 - Minds and Machines (3):1-14.
    “Realization” is a technical term that is used by metaphysicians, philosophers of mind, and philosophers of science to denote some dependence relation that is thought to obtain between higher-level properties and lower-level properties. It is said that mental properties are realized by physical properties; functional and computational properties are realized by first-order properties that occupy certain causal/functional roles; dispositional properties are realized by categorical properties; so on and so forth. Given this wide usage of the term “realization”, it would be (...)
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  • Mental Causation.Sophie C. Gibb - 2014 - Analysis 74 (2):327-338.
  • A Posteriori Physicalism and Introspection.Andreas Elpidorou - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (1):474-500.
    Introspection presents our phenomenal states in a manner otherwise than physical. This observation is often thought to amount to an argument against physicalism: if introspection presents phenomenal states as they essentially are, then phenomenal states cannot be physical states, for we are not introspectively aware of phenomenal states as physical states. In this article, I examine whether this argument threatens a posteriori physicalism. I argue that as along as proponents of a posteriori physicalism maintain that phenomenal concepts present the nature (...)
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  • Three Paradigms of Scientific Realism: A Truthmaking Account.Jamin Asay - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (1):1-21.
    This paper investigates the nature of scientific realism. I begin by considering the anomalous fact that Bas van Fraassen’s account of scientific realism is strikingly similar to Arthur Fine’s account of scientific non-realism. To resolve this puzzle, I demonstrate how the two theorists understand the nature of truth and its connection to ontology, and how that informs their conception of the realism debate. I then argue that the debate is much better captured by the theory of truthmaking, and not by (...)
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  • Emergentism and Supervenience Physicalism.Robert J. Howell - 2009 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (1):83 – 98.
    A purely metaphysical formulation of physicalism is surprisingly elusive. One popular slogan is, 'There is nothing over and above the physical'. Problems with this arise on two fronts. First, it is difficult to explain what makes a property 'physical' without appealing to the methodology of physics or to particular ways in which properties are known. This obviously introduces epistemic features into the core of a metaphysical issue. Second, it is difficult to cash out 'over-and-aboveness' in a way that is rigorous, (...)
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  • A Mereological Characterization of Physicalism.David Pineda - 2006 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20 (3):243 – 266.
    Physicalism is usually understood as the claim that every empirical entity is or is determined by physical entities. The claim is however imprecise until it is clarified what are the physical entities in question. A sceptical argument in the form of a dilemma tries to show that this problem of formulation of physicalism cannot be adequately met. If we understand physical entities as the entities introduced by current physics, the resulting claim becomes most probably false. If we instead understand physical (...)
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  • Psychophysical Reductionism Without Type Identities.Justin Tiehen - 2012 - American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (3):223-236.
    Nonreductive physicalists have a causal exclusion problem. Given certain theses all physicalists accept, including psychophysical supervenience and the causal closure of the physical realm, it is difficult to see how irreducible mental phenomena could make a causal difference to the world. The upshot, according to those who push the problem, is that we must embrace reductive physicalism. Only then is mental causation saved. -/- Grant the argument, at least provisionally. Here our focus is the conditional question: What form should one's (...)
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  • What to Say to a Skeptical Metaphysician: A Defense Manual for Cognitive and Behavioral Scientists.Don Ross & David Spurrett - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (5):603-627.
    A wave of recent work in metaphysics seeks to undermine the anti-reductionist, functionalist consensus of the past few decades in cognitive science and philosophy of mind. That consensus apparently legitimated a focus on what systems do, without necessarily and always requiring attention to the details of how systems are constituted. The new metaphysical challenge contends that many states and processes referred to by functionalist cognitive scientists are epiphenomenal. It further contends that the problem lies in functionalism itself, and that, to (...)
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  • Physicalism and Cosmic Hermeneutics: Comments on Horgan.Thomas W. Polger - manuscript
    It is commonly held that there are two obstacles to precisely formulating the doctrine of physicalism: Hempel’s Problem, and Hume’s Problem.2 Hempel’s Problem is that if physicalism is to be formulated in terms of physics—or in terms of any science, for the problem is fully general if it is a problem at all—whether to use the current or future science. If physicalism is formulated in terms of current physics, then it is most likely false because current physics is at least (...)
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  • Functionalism, Superduperfunctionalism, and Physicalism: Lessons From Supervenience.Ronald Endicott - 2016 - Synthese 193 (7):2205-2235.
    Philosophers almost universally believe that concepts of supervenience fail to satisfy the standards for physicalism because they offer mere property correlations that are left unexplained. They are thus compatible with non-physicalist accounts of those relations. Moreover, many philosophers not only prefer some kind of functional-role theory as a physically acceptable account of mind-body and other inter-level relations, but they use it as a form of “superdupervenience” to explain supervenience in a physically acceptable way. But I reject a central part of (...)
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  • Fisicismo Não-Reducionista: Uma Atitude Sem Conteúdo Cognitivo? Sobre o Desafio de Bas van Fraassen.Wilson Mendonça - 2007 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 11 (1):171-186.
    According to the dominant view on causation, particular, spatial-temporally locatable events, which can be designated by singular terms and definite descriptions, are the only genuine relata of the causal relation. This supports and is supported by the accepted dicothomy between explanation, conceived of as an intensional relation between facts or truths, and the natural, extensional relation of causation. The paper takes issue with this view and makes a case for the legitimacy of the notion of fact-causation: the relata of many (...)
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  • Materialism: Matters Of Definition, Defense, and Deconstruction.Terry Horgan - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 131 (1):157-183.
    How should the metaphysical hypothesis of materialism be formulated? What strategies look promising for defending this hypothesis? How good are the prospects for its successful defense, especially in light of the infamous "hard problem" of phenomenal consciousness? I will say something about each of these questions.
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  • Mental Causation.Karen Bennett - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (2):316-337.
    Concerns about ‘mental causation’ are concerns about how it is possible for mental states to cause anything to happen. How does what we believe, want, see, feel, hope, or dread manage to cause us to act? Certain positions on the mind-body problem—including some forms of physicalism—make such causation look highly problematic. This entry sketches several of the main reasons to worry, and raises some questions for further investigation.
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  • Explaining Causal Closure.Justin Tiehen - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (9):2405-2425.
    The physical realm is causally closed, according to physicalists like me. But why is it causally closed, what metaphysically explains causal closure? I argue that reductive physicalists are committed to one explanation of causal closure to the exclusion of any independent explanation, and that as a result, they must give up on using a causal argument to attack mind–body dualism. Reductive physicalists should view dualism in much the way that we view the hypothesis that unicorns exist, or that the Kansas (...)
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  • Physicalism Decomposed.A. Huttemann & D. Papineau - 2005 - Analysis 65 (1):33-39.
    In this paper we distinguish two issues that are often run together in discussions about physicalism. The first issue concerns levels. How do entities picked out by non-physical terminology, such as biological or psychological terminology, relate to physical entities? Are the former identical to, or metaphysically supervenient on, the latter? The second issue concerns physical parts and wholes. How do macroscopic physical entities relate to their microscopic parts? Are the former generally determined by the latter? We argue that views on (...)
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  • Consciousness, Type Physicalism, and Inference to the Best Explanation.Brian P. McLaughlin - 2010 - Philosophical Issues 20 (1):266-304.
  • Mechanisms and Explanatory Realization Relations.Thomas W. Polger - 2010 - Synthese 177 (2):193 - 212.
    My topic is the confluence of two recently active philosophical research programs. One research program concerns the metaphysics of realization. The other research program concerns scientific explanation in terms of mechanisms. In this paper I introduce a distinction between descriptive and explanatory approaches to realization. I then use this distinction to argue that a well-known account of realization, due to Carl Gillett, is incompatible with a well-known account of mechanistic explanation, due to Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden, and Carl Craver (MDC, (...)
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  • Supervenience Physicalism, Emergentism, and the Polluted Supervenience Base.Kevin Morris - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (2):351-365.
    A prominent objection to supervenience physicalism is that a definition of physicalism in terms of supervenience allows for physicalism to be compatible with nonphysicalist outlooks, such as certain forms of emergentism. I take as my starting point a recent defense of supervenience physicalism from this objection. According to this line of thought, the subvenient base for emergent properties cannot be said to be purely physical; rather, it is “polluted” with emergent features in virtue of necessarily giving rise to them. Thus, (...)
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  • What Does the Conservation of Energy Have to Do with Physicalism?Barbara Montero - 2006 - Dialectica 60 (4):383-396.
    The conservation of energy law, a law of physics that states that the total energy of any closed system is always conserved, is a bedrock principle that has achieved both broad theoretical and experimental support. Yet if interactive dualism is correct, it is thought that the mind can affect physical objects in violation of the conservation of energy. Thus, some claim, the conservation of energy grounds an argument for physicalism. Although critics of the argument focus on the implausibility of causation (...)
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  • Conceptual and Linguistic Analysis: A Two-Step Program.Andrew Melnyk - 2008 - Noûs 42 (2):267–291.
    This paper argues against both conceptual and linguistic analysis as sources of a priori knowledge. The key claim is that none of the main views about what concepts are can underwrite the possibility of such knowledge.
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