A Posteriori Physicalism and the Discrimination of Properties

Acta Analytica 33 (1):121-143 (2018)

Authors
Philip Woodward
Valparaiso University
Abstract
According to a posteriori physicalism, phenomenal properties are physical properties, despite the unbridgeable cognitive gap that holds between phenomenal concepts and physical concepts. Current debates about a posteriori physicalism turn on what I call “the perspicuity principle”: it is impossible for a suitably astute cognizer to possess concepts of a certain sort—viz., narrow concepts—without being able to tell whether the referents of those concepts are the same or different. The perspicuity principle tends to strike a posteriori physicalists as implausibly rationalistic; further, a posteriori physicalists maintain that even if the principle is applicable to many narrow concepts, phenomenal concepts have unique features that render them inferentially isolated from other narrow concepts ). I argue, on the contrary, that the case for the perspicuity principle is quite strong. Moreover, not only have versions of the PCS repeatedly failed, likely, all versions will, given the strange combination of lucidity and opacity that the PCS has to juggle. I conclude that a posteriori physicalists currently lack a principled objection to classic anti-physicalist arguments.
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DOI 10.1007/s12136-017-0329-0
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References found in this work BETA

Metaphors We Live By.Max Black - 1980 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 40 (2):208-210.
The Content and Epistemology of Phenomenal Belief.David J. Chalmers - 2003 - In Quentin Smith & Aleksandar Jokic (eds.), Consciousness: New Philosophical Perspectives. Oxford University Press. pp. 220--72.
A Puzzle About Belief.Saul A. Kripke - 1979 - In A. Margalit (ed.), Meaning and Use. Reidel. pp. 239--83.

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