Property dualism, phenomenal concepts, and the semantic premise

In Torin Andrew Alter & Sven Walter (eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. New York, US: Oxford University Press. pp. 210-248 (2006)
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Abstract

This chapter defends the property dualism argument. The term “semantic premise” mentioned is used to refers to an assumption identified by Brian Loar that antiphysicalist arguments, such as the property dualism argument, tacitly assume that a statement of property identity that links conceptually independent concepts is true only if at least one concept picks out the property it refers to by connoting a contingent property of that property. It is argued that, the property that does the work in explaining the possibility of a posteriori identities need not be a first-order property of the referent in question. On his view, the property dualism argument requires only a weaker semantic premise, which allows that the property in question be a higher order property. A refined version of the property dualism argument is formulated, which uses the weaker premise, and defends the argument against various objections.

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Stephen L. White
Tufts University

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