Russellian Physicalism, Bare Structure, and Swapped Inscrutables

Journal of Consciousness Studies 23 (9-10):180-198 (2016)
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Abstract

This paper discusses and evaluates a recent argument for the conclusion that an attractive variety of Russellian monism ought to be regarded as a form of physicalism. According to this line of thought, if the Russellian’s “inscrutable” properties are held to ground not only experience, but also the physical structure of the world—and in this sense are not “experience-specific”—they thereby have an unproblematic place in physicalist metaphysics. I argue, in contrast, that there can be a sense in which the Russellian’s inscrutables are experience-specific in a way that a physicalist probably ought to find objectionable, even if they play some role other than grounding experience. This will be the case, I argue, if certain worlds are taken to be possible, as they sometimes have: worlds of “bare structure” and worlds with what might be called “swapped inscrutables”. In this way, I claim that accepting certain possibilities has consequences for how one should understand the nature of the Russellian’s inscrutables and the place they have in physicalist metaphysics.

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Kevin Morris
Tulane University

References found in this work

From an ontological point of view.John Heil - 2003 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Universe as We Find It.John Heil - 2012 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
The Analysis of Matter.Bertrand Russell - 1927 - London: Kegan Paul.
Panpsychism and Panprotopsychism.David Chalmers - 2013 - Amherst Lecture in Philosophy 8.

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