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Consciousness and the Prospects of Physicalism

Oxford University Press (2011)

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  1. Russellian Panpsychism: Too Good to Be True?Patrick Kuehner Lewtas - 2015 - American Philosophical Quarterly 52 (1):57-72.
    Russellian panpsychism puts basic conscious properties at the bottom level and then grounds lowestlevel physical entities in them. This paper offers arguments against the view. The explanatory gap cuts both ways, making it as hard to get the physical out of consciousness as to get consciousness out of the physical. Russellian panpsychism can't explain how basic conscious properties yield high-level consciousness. Other non-physicalist views can evade the causal argument for physicalism at least as well as Russellian panpsychism. Simplicity and beauty (...)
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  • The Meta-Problem of Consciousness.David Chalmers - 2018 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 25 (9-10):6-61.
  • The Semiotic Mind: A Fundamental Theory of Consciousness.Marc Champagne - 2014 - Dissertation, York Universiy
    One of the leading concerns animating current philosophy of mind is that, no matter how good a scientific account is, it will leave out what its like to be conscious. The challenge has thus been to study or at least explain away that qualitative dimension. Pursuant with that aim, I investigate how philosophy of signs in the Peircean tradition can positively reshape ongoing debates. Specifically, I think the account of iconic or similarity-based reference we find in semiotic theory offers a (...)
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  • A Causal Argument for Dualism.Bradford Saad - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (10):2475-2506.
    Dualism holds that some mental events are fundamental and non-physical. I develop a prima facie plausible causal argument for dualism. The argument has several significant implications. First, it constitutes a new way of arguing for dualism. Second, it provides dualists with a parity response to causal arguments for physicalism. Third, it transforms the dialectical role of epiphenomenalism. Fourth, it refutes the view that causal considerations prima facie support physicalism but not dualism. After developing the causal argument for dualism and drawing (...)
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  • Social Construction: Big-G Grounding, Small-G Realization.Aaron Griffith - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (1):241-260.
    The goal of this paper is to make headway on a metaphysics of social construction. In recent work, I’ve argued that social construction should be understood in terms of metaphysical grounding. However, I agree with grounding skeptics like Wilson that bare claims about what grounds what are insufficient for capturing, with fine enough grain, metaphysical dependence structures. To that end, I develop a view on which the social construction of human social kinds is a kind of realization relation. Social kinds, (...)
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  • The Illusion of Conscious Experience.François Kammerer - forthcoming - Synthese:1-22.
    Illusionism about phenomenal consciousness is the thesis that phenomenal consciousness does not exist, even though it seems to exist. This thesis is widely judged to be uniquely counterintuitive: the idea that consciousness is an illusion strikes most people as absurd, and seems almost impossible to contemplate in earnest. Defenders of illusionism should be able to explain the apparent absurdity of their own thesis, within their own framework. However, this is no trivial task: arguably, none of the illusionist theories currently on (...)
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  • Panpsychism.William E. Seager - 2002 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    1 Non-reductive physicalists deny that there is any explanation of mentality in purely physical terms, but do not deny that the mental is entirely determined by and constituted out of underlying physical structures. There are important issues about the stability of such a view which teeters on the edge of explanatory reductionism on the one side and dualism on the other (see Kim 1998). 2 Save perhaps for eliminative materialism (see Churchland 1981 for a classic exposition). In fact, however, while.
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  • Supervenience Physicalism, Emergentism, and the Polluted Supervenience Base.Kevin Morris - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (2):351-365.
    A prominent objection to supervenience physicalism is that a definition of physicalism in terms of supervenience allows for physicalism to be compatible with nonphysicalist outlooks, such as certain forms of emergentism. I take as my starting point a recent defense of supervenience physicalism from this objection. According to this line of thought, the subvenient base for emergent properties cannot be said to be purely physical; rather, it is “polluted” with emergent features in virtue of necessarily giving rise to them. Thus, (...)
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  • Real Acquaintance and Physicalism.Philip Goff - 2015 - In Paul Coates & Sam Coleman (eds.), Phenomenal Qualities: Sense, Perception and Consciousness. Oxford University Press.
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  • Cosmopsychism, Micropsychism, and the Grounding Relation.Philip Goff - forthcoming - In William Seager (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Panpsychism. Routledge.
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  • Consciousness and the Philosophy of Signs: How Peircean Semiotics Combines Phenomenal Qualia and Practical Effects.Marc Champagne - 2018 - Cham: Springer.
    It is often thought that consciousness has a qualitative dimension that cannot be tracked by science. Recently, however, some philosophers have argued that this worry stems not from an elusive feature of the mind, but from the special nature of the concepts used to describe conscious states. Marc Champagne draws on the neglected branch of philosophy of signs or semiotics to develop a new take on this strategy. The term “semiotics” was introduced by John Locke in the modern period – (...)
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  • VI—Panpsychism and Free Will: A Case Study in Liberal Naturalism.Philip Goff - 2020 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 120 (2):123-144.
    There has been a resurgence of interest in panpsychism in contemporary philosophy of mind. According to its supporters, panpsychism offers an attractive solution to the mind–body problem, avoiding the deep difficulties associated with the more conventional options of dualism and materialism. There has been little focus, however, on whether panpsychism can help with philosophical problems pertaining to free will. In this paper I will argue that it is coherent and consistent with observation to postulate a kind of libertarian agent causation (...)
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  • VI—Panpsychism and Free Will: A Case Study in Liberal Naturalism.Philip Goff - 2020 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 120 (2):123-144.
    There has been a resurgence of interest in panpsychism in contemporary philosophy of mind. According to its supporters, panpsychism offers an attractive solution to the mind–body problem, avoiding the deep difficulties associated with the more conventional options of dualism and materialism. There has been little focus, however, on whether panpsychism can help with philosophical problems pertaining to free will. In this paper I will argue that it is coherent and consistent with observation to postulate a kind of libertarian agent causation (...)
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  • The Super-Overdetermination Problem.John Donaldson - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Glasgow
    I examine the debate between reductive and non-reductive physicalists, and conclude that if we are to be physicalists, then we should be reductive physicalists. I assess how both reductionists and non-reductionists try to solve the mind-body problem and the problem of mental causation. I focus on the problem of mental causation as it is supposed to be faced by non-reductionism: the so-called overdetermination problem. I argue that the traditional articulation of that problem is significantly flawed, and I show how to (...)
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  • Russellian Physicalism and Protophenomenal Properties.Torin Alter & Sam Coleman - 2020 - Analysis 80 (3):409-417.
    According to Russellian monism, phenomenal consciousness is constituted by inscrutables: intrinsic properties that categorically ground dispositional properties described by fundamental physics. On Russellian physicalism, those inscrutables are construed as protophenomenal properties: non-structural properties that both categorically ground dispositional properties and, perhaps when appropriately structured, collectively constitute phenomenal properties. Morris and Brown argue that protophenomenal properties cannot serve this purpose, given assumptions Russellian monists typically make about the modal profile of such properties. Those assumptions, it is argued, entail that protophenomenal properties (...)
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  • Explaining the Intuition of Revelation.Michelle Liu - 2020 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 27 (5-6):99-107.
    This commentary focuses on explaining the intuition of revelation, an issue that Chalmers (2018) raises in his paper. I first sketch how the truth of revelation provides an explanation for the intuition of revelation, and then assess a physicalist proposal to explain the intuition that appeals to Derk Pereboom’s (2011, 2016, 2019) qualitative inaccuracy hypothesis.
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  • Vagueness and Zombies: Why ‘Phenomenally Conscious’ has No Borderline Cases.Jonathan A. Simon - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (8):2105-2123.
    I argue that there can be no such thing as a borderline case of the predicate ‘phenomenally conscious’: for any given creature at any given time, it cannot be vague whether that creature is phenomenally conscious at that time. I first defend the Positive Characterization Thesis, which says that for any borderline case of any predicate there is a positive characterization of that case that can show any sufficiently competent speaker what makes it a borderline case. I then appeal to (...)
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  • How Counterpart Theory Saves Nonreductive Physicalism.Justin Tiehen - 2019 - Mind 128 (509):139-174.
    Nonreductive physicalism faces serious problems regarding causal exclusion, causal heterogeneity, and the nature of realization. In this paper I advance solutions to each of those problems. The proposed solutions all depend crucially on embracing modal counterpart theory. Hence, the paper’s thesis: counterpart theory saves nonreductive physicalism. I take as my inspiration the view that mental tokens are constituted by physical tokens in the same way statues are constituted by lumps of clay. I break from other philosophers who have pursued this (...)
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  • Critical Notice: Consciousness and the Prospects of Physicalism, by Derk Pereboom.Derek Ball - 2014 - Analytic Philosophy 55 (1):118-129.
    Critical notice of Derk Pereboom's "Consciousness and the Prospects of Physicalism". Discusses Pereboom's idea that conscious states might be misrepresented in introspection, and his idea that instantiations of mental properties are composed of instantiations of physical properties.
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  • Qualitative Inaccuracy and Unconceived Alternatives.Daniel Stoljar - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (3):745-752.
    Pereboom (2011) is an extremely rich investigation of some of the central questions in contemporary philosophy of mind. In the foreground are the usual suspects from the current scene, but Kant and Russell loom in the background, and footnotes elaborate connections to people as apparently remote from the normal run of things as Dilthey and Derrida. With so much covered one is inevitably forced to focus on some things, setting aside others. Here I will concentrate on two ideas contained in (...)
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  • Pereboom's Robust Nonreductive Physicalism.Lynne Rudder Baker - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (3):736-744.
  • Social Construction and Grounding.Aaron M. Griffith - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):393-409.
    The aim of this paper is to bring recent work on metaphysical grounding to bear on the phenomenon of social construction. It is argued that grounding can be used to analyze social construction and that the grounding framework is helpful for articulating various claims and commitments of social constructionists, especially about social identities, e.g., gender and race. The paper also responds to a number of objections that have been leveled against the application of grounding to social construction from Elizabeth Barnes, (...)
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  • Solely Generic Phenomenology.Ned Block - 2015 - Open MIND 2015.
     
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  • Grounding, Essence, and the Knowledge Argument.Philip Goff - 2019 - In Sam Coleman (ed.), The Knowledge Argument. Cambridge University Press.
    Few these days dispute that the knowledge argument demonstrates an epistemic gap between the physical facts and the facts about experience. It is much more contentious whether that epistemic gap can be used to demonstrate a metaphysical gap of a kind that is inconsistent with physicalism. In this paper I will explore two attempts to block the inference from an epistemic gap to a metaphysical gap – the first from the phenomenal concept strategy, the second from Russellian monism – and (...)
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  • Inheritance Arguments for Fundamentality.Kelly Trogdon - 2018 - In Ricki Leigh Bliss & Graham Priest (eds.), Reality and its Structure. New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 182-198.
    Discussion of a metaphysical sense of 'inheritance' and cognate notions relevant to fundamentality.
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  • Russellian Monism and Epiphenomenalism.William S. Robinson - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (1):100-117.
    Contemporaries often reject epiphenomenalism out of hand, while Russellian Monism is regarded as worthy of further development. It is argued here that this difference of attitudes is indefensible, because the easy rejection of EPI is due to its violating a certain Causal Intuition, and RM implicitly violates that same intuition. An enriched version of RM mitigates the violation, but the same mitigation results if we make a parallel enrichment of EPI. If RM and EPI are approached on a level playing (...)
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  • Pessimism About Russellian Monism.Amy Kind - 2015 - In Torin Alter & Yujin Nagasawa (eds.), Consciousness in the Physical World: Perspectives on Russellian Monism. pp. 401-421.
    From the perspective of many philosophers of mind in these early years of the 21st Century, the debate between dualism and physicalism has seemed to have stalled, if not to have come to a complete standstill. There seems to be no way to settle the basic clash of intuitions that underlies it. Recently however, a growing number of proponents of Russellian monism have suggested that their view promises to show us a new way forward. Insofar as Russellian monism might allow (...)
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  • The Knowledge Argument and the Implications of Phenomenal Knowledge.Robert J. Howell - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (7):459-468.
  • Space Emergence in Contemporary Physics: Why We Do Not Need Fundamentality, Layers of Reality and Emergence.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2018 - Disputatio 10 (49):71-95.
    ‘Space does not exist fundamentally: it emerges from a more fundamental non-spatial structure.’ This intriguing claim appears in various research programs in contemporary physics. Philosophers of physics tend to believe that this claim entails either that spacetime does not exist, or that it is derivatively real. In this article, I introduce and defend a third metaphysical interpretation of the claim: reductionism about space. I argue that, as a result, there is no need to subscribe to fundamentality, layers of reality and (...)
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  • Paradise Regained: A Non-Reductive Realist Account of the Sensible Qualities.Brian Cutter - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (1):38-52.
    This paper defends a non-reductive realist view of the sensible qualities—roughly, the view that the sensible qualities are really instantiated by the external objects of perception, and not reducible to response-independent physical properties or response-dependent relational properties. I begin by clarifying and motivating the non-reductive realist view. I then consider some familiar difficulties for the view. Addressing these difficulties leads to the development and defence of a general theory, inspired by Russellian Monist theories of consciousness, of how the sensible qualities (...)
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  • The Fall From Eden: Why Libertarianism Isn't Justified By Experience.Oisín Deery - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (2):319-334.
    Libertarians claim that our experience of free choice is indeterministic. They think that, when we choose, our choice feels open in a way that would require indeterminism for the experience to be accurate. This claim then functions as a step in an argument in favour of libertarianism, the view that freedom requires indeterminism and we are free. Since, all else being equal, we should take experience at face value, libertarians argue, we should endorse libertarianism. Compatibilists, who think that freedom is (...)
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  • Stained Glass as a Model for Consciousness.Mihnea D. I. Capraru - 2015 - Philosophical Explorations 18 (1):90-103.
    Contemporary phenomenal externalists are motivated to a large extent by the transparency of experience and by the related doctrine of representationalism. On their own, however, transparency and representationalism do not suffice to establish externalism. Hence we should hesitate to dismiss phenomenal internalism, a view shared by many generations of competent philosophers. Rather, we should keep both our options open, internalism and externalism. It is hard, however, to see how to keep open the internalist option, for although transparency and representationalism have (...)
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  • The Physicalist's Tight Squeeze: A Posteriori Physicalism Vs. A Priori Physicalism.Robert J. Howell - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (12):905-913.
    Both a priori physicalism and a posteriori physicalism combine a metaphysical and an epistemological thesis. They agree about the metaphysical thesis: our world is wholly physical. Most agree that this requires everything that there is must be necessitated by the sort of truths described by physics. If we call the conjunction of the basic truths of physics P, all physicalists agree that P entails for any truth Q. Where they disagree is whether or not this entailment can be known a (...)
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  • The Structure and Dynamics Argument Against Materialism.Torin Alter - 2016 - Noûs 50 (4):794-815.
  • Perception From the First‐Person Perspective.Robert J. Howell - 2016 - European Journal of Philosophy 24 (1):187-213.
    This paper develops a view of the content of perceptual states that reflects the cognitive significance those states have for the subject. Perhaps the most important datum for such a theory is the intuition that experiences are ‘transparent’, an intuition promoted by philosophers as diverse as Sartre and Dretske. This paper distinguishes several different transparency theses, and considers which ones are truly supported by the phenomenological data. It is argued that the only thesis supported by the data is much weaker (...)
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  • A Philosophical Model of the Relation Between Things in Themselves and Appearances.Kris McDaniel - 2015 - Noûs 49 (4):643-664.
    I introduce a methodology for doing the history of philosophy called philosophical modeling. I then employ this methodology to give a theory of Kant's distinction between things in themselves and appearances. This theory models Kant's distinction on the distinction between a constituting object and the object it constitutes.
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  • Receptivity and Phenomenal Self‐Knowledge.Thomas McClelland - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (4):293-302.
    In this article, I argue that an epistemic question about knowledge of our own phenomenal states encourages a certain metaphysical picture of consciousness according to which phenomenal states are reflexive mental representations. Section 1 describes and motivates the thesis that phenomenal self- knowledge is ‘receptive’: that is, the view that a subject has knowledge of their phenomenal states only insofar as they are inwardly affected by those states. In Sections 4 and 3, I argue that this model of phenomenal self- (...)
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  • Certainty and Our Sense of Acquaintance with Experiences.François Kammerer - forthcoming - Erkenntnis.
    Why do we tend to think that phenomenal consciousness poses a hard problem? The answer seems to lie in part in the fact that we have the impression that phenomenal experiences are presented to us in a particularly immediate and revelatory way: we have a sense of acquaintance with our experiences. Recent views have offered resources to explain such persisting impression, by hypothesizing that the very design of our cognitive systems inevitably leads us to hold beliefs about our own experiences (...)
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  • Physicalism and the Burden of Parsimony.Giacomo Zanotti - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):11109-11132.
    Parsimony considerations are ubiquitous in the literature concerning the nature of mental states. Other things being equal, physicalist views are preferred over dualist accounts on the grounds of the fact that they do not posit new fundamental properties in addition to the physical ones. This paper calls into question the widespread assumption that parsimony can provide reasons for believing that physicalism is a better candidate than dualism for solving the mind–body problem. After presenting the theoretical core of physicalism and dualism, (...)
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  • Heidegger and Dilthey: Language, History, and Hermeneutics.Eric S. Nelson - 2014 - In Megan Altman Hans Pedersen (ed.), Horizons of Authenticity in Phenomenology, Existentialism, and Moral Psychology. springer. pp. 109-128.
    The hermeneutical tradition represented by Yorck, Heidegger, and Gadamer has distrusted Dilthey as suffering from the two sins of modernism: scientific “positivism” and individualistic and aesthetic “romanticism.” On the one hand, Dilthey’s epistemology is deemed scientistic in accepting the priority of the empirical, the ontic, and consequently scientific inquiry into the physical, biological, and human worlds; on the other hand, his personalist ethos and Goethean humanism, and his pluralistic life- and worldview philosophy are considered excessively aesthetic, culturally liberal, relativistic, and (...)
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  • Appearance, Reality, and the Meta-Problem of Consciousness.Giovanni Merlo - 2020 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 27 (5-6):120-130.
    Solving the meta-problem of consciousness requires, among other things, explaining why we are so reluctant to endorse various forms of illusionism about the phenomenal. I will try to tackle this task in two steps. The first consists in clarifying how the concept of consciousness precludes the possibility of any distinction between 'appearance' and 'reality'. The second consists in spelling out our reasons for recognizing the existence of something that satisfies that concept.
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  • Fame in the predictive brain: a deflationary approach to explaining consciousness in the prediction error minimization framework.Krzysztof Dołęga & Joe E. Dewhurst - 2021 - Synthese 198 (8):7781-7806.
    The proposal that probabilistic inference and unconscious hypothesis testing are central to information processing in the brain has been steadily gaining ground in cognitive neuroscience and associated fields. One popular version of this proposal is the new theoretical framework of predictive processing or prediction error minimization, which couples unconscious hypothesis testing with the idea of ‘active inference’ and claims to offer a unified account of perception and action. Here we will consider one outstanding issue that still looms large at the (...)
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  • How Rich is the Illusion of Consciousness?François Kammerer - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-17.
    Illusionists claim that phenomenal consciousness does not exist, but merely seems to exist. Most debates concerning illusionism focus on whether or not it is true – whether phenomenal consciousness really is an illusion. Here I want to tackle a different question: assuming illusionism is true, what kind of illusion is the illusion of phenomenality? Is it a “rich” illusion – the cognitively impenetrable activation of an incorrect representation – or a “sparse” illusion – the cognitively impenetrable activation of an incomplete (...)
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  • Why Ockham’s Razor Should Be Preferred to the Laser.Dean Da Vee - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3679-3694.
    Ockham’s Razor advises us to not multiply entities without necessity. Recently, Jonathan Schaffer and Karen Bennett have argued that we ought to replace Ockham’s Razor with the Laser, the principle that only advises us to not multiply fundamental entities without necessity. In this paper, I argue that Ockham’s Razor is preferable to the Laser. I begin by contending that the arguments offered for the Laser by Schaffer and Bennett are unpersuasive. Then I offer two cases of theory assessment that I (...)
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  • Does the Explanatory Gap Rest on a Fallacy?François Kammerer - 2018 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 10 (4):649-667.
    Many philosophers have tried to defend physicalism concerning phenomenal consciousness, by explaining dualist intuitions within a purely physicalist framework. One of the most common strategies to do so consists in interpreting the alleged “explanatory gap” between phenomenal states and physical states as resulting from a fallacy, or a cognitive illusion. In this paper, I argue that the explanatory gap does not rest on a fallacy or a cognitive illusion. This does not imply the falsity of physicalism, but it has consequences (...)
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  • Causal Emergence and Epiphenomenal Emergence.Umut Baysan - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (4):891-904.
    According to one conception of strong emergence, strongly emergent properties are nomologically necessitated by their base properties and have novel causal powers relative to them. In this paper, I raise a difficulty for this conception of strong emergence, arguing that these two features are incompatible. Instead of presenting this as an objection to the friends of strong emergence, I argue that this indicates that there are distinct varieties of strong emergence: causal emergence and epiphenomenal emergence. I then explore the prospects (...)
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  • Motion and the Affection Argument.Colin McLear - 2018 - Synthese 195 (11):4979-4995.
    In the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, Kant presents an argument for the centrality of <motion> to our concept <matter>. This argument has long been considered either irredeemably obscure or otherwise defective. In this paper I provide an interpretation which defends the argument’s validity and clarifies the sense in which it aims to show that <motion> is fundamental to our conception of matter.
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  • Powerful Qualities, the Conceivability Argument and the Nature of the Physical.Henry Taylor - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (8):1895-1910.
    David Chalmers’ ‘conceivability’ argument against physicalism is perhaps the most widely discussed and controversial argument in contemporary philosophy of mind. Recently, several thinkers have suggested a novel response to this argument, which employs the ‘powerful qualities’ ontology of properties. In this paper, I argue that this response fails because it presupposes an implausible account of the physical/phenomenal distinction. In the course of establishing this, I discuss the so-called ‘ultimate’ argument for the claim that dispositional properties form the subject matter of (...)
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  • Foundational Grounding and the Argument From Contingency.Kenneth L. Pearce - 2017 - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 8.
    The argument from contingency for the existence of God is best understood as a request for an explanation of the total sequence of causes and effects in the universe (‘History’ for short). Many puzzles about how there could be such an explanation arise from the assumption that God is being introduced as one more cause prepended to the sequence of causes that (allegedly) needed explaining. In response to this difficulty, this chapter defends three theses. First, it argues that, if the (...)
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  • Introduction: The Character of Physicalism.Andreas Elpidorou - 2018 - Topoi 37 (3):435-455.
    The aim of this editorial introduction is twofold. First, Sects. 1–8 offer a critical introduction to the metaphysical character of physicalism. In those sections, I present and evaluate different ways in which proponents of physicalism have made explicit the metaphysical dependence that is said to hold between the non-physical and the physical. Some of these accounts are found to be problematic; others are shown to be somewhat more promising. In the end, some important lessons are drawn and different options for (...)
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