Defining physicalism

Philosophy Compass 3 (5):1033-1048 (2008)
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Abstract

This article discusses recent disagreements over the correct formulation of physicalism. Although there appears to be a consensus outside those who discuss the issue that physicalists believe that what exists is what is countenanced by physics, as we will see, this orthodoxy faces an important puzzle now frequently referred to as 'Hempel's Dilemma'. After surveying the historical trajectory from Enlightenment-era materialism to contemporary physicalism, I examine several mainstream approaches that respond to Hempel's dilemma, and the benefits and drawbacks of each.

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Alyssa Ney
University of California, Davis

Citations of this work

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References found in this work

What is It Like to Be a Bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
Language and Mind.Noam Chomsky - 1968 - Cambridge University Press.
Philosophy of Natural Science.Carl Gustav Hempel - 1966 - Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall.
A World of States of Affairs.D. Armstrong - 1993 - Philosophical Perspectives 7:429-440.
Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology.Rudolf Carnap - 1950 - Revue Internationale de Philosophie 4 (11):20-40.

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