Physicalists Have Nothing to Fear from Ghosts

International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20 (1):91-104 (2012)
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It is well known that, according to some, philosophical reflection on zombies (i.e., bodies without minds) poses a problem for physicalism. But what about ghosts, i.e., minds without bodies? Does philosophical reflection on them pose a problem for physicalism? Descartes, of course, thought so, and lately rumours have been surfacing that has was right after all, that ghosts pose a problem for both a priori and a posteriori physicalism, and for any kind of physicalism in between. This paper argues that physicalists have nothing to fear from ghosts, since the central consideration employed to motivate ghostly arguments against physicalism--viz., that ghosts are conceivable--is false: ghosts aren't conceivable.



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Greg Janzen
University of Calgary

Citations of this work

Laying ghosts to rest.Donnchadh O’Conaill - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (2):429-445.

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References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
Naming and Necessity: Lectures Given to the Princeton University Philosophy Colloquium.Saul A. Kripke - 1980 - Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Edited by Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel.
The View From Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - New York: Oxford University Press.
What is it like to be a bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.

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