Deprioritizing the A Priori Arguments against Physicalism

Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (3-4):47-69 (2010)
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Abstract

In this paper I argue that a priori arguments fail to present any real problem for physicalism. They beg the question against physicalism in the sense that the argument will only seem compelling if one is already assuming that qualitative properties are nonphysical. To show this I will present the reverse-zombie and reverse-knowledge arguments. The only evidence against physicalism is a priori arguments, but there are also a priori arguments against dualism of exactly the same variety. Each of these parity arguments has premises that are just as intuitively plausible, and it cannot be the case that both the traditional scenarios and the reverse-scenarios are all ideally conceivable. Given this one set must be merely prima facie conceivable and only empirical methods will tell us which is which. So, by the time a priori methodology will be of any use it will be too late.

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Richard Brown
LaGuardia Community College (CUNY)

Citations of this work

An Acquaintance Alternative to Self-Representationalism.Anna Giustina - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (12):3831-3863.
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The Brain and its States.Richard Brown - 2012 - In Shimon Edelman, Tomer Fekete & Neta Zach (eds.), Being in Time: Dynamical Models of Phenomenal Experience. John Benjamins. pp. 211-238.

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