The first-personal argument against physicalism

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to discuss a seemingly straightforward argument against physicalism which, despite being implicit in much of the philosophical debate about consciousness, has not received the attention it deserves (compared to other, better-known “epistemic”, “modal”, and “conceivability” arguments). This is the argument from the non-supervenience of the first-personal (and indexical) facts on the third-personal (and non-indexical) ones. This non-supervenience, together with the assumption that the physical facts (as conventionally understood) are third-personal, entails that some facts – namely, first-personal, phenomenal ones – do not supervene on the physical facts. Unlike other arguments against physicalism, the first-personal argument, if successful, refutes not only physicalism but also other third-personal metaphysical pictures, including standard versions of dualism.

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Author's Profile

Christian List
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München

References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
What is it like to be a bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
On what grounds what.Jonathan Schaffer - 2009 - In David Manley, David J. Chalmers & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press. pp. 347-383.

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