Philosophical Studies 174 (8):1895-1910 (2017)

Henry Taylor
University of Birmingham
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 physics. I argue that the ultimate argument can be interpreted in a strong or a weak way, and that the strong interpretation is implausible. I argue that this undermines the powerful qualities based response to the conceivability argument. I also argue for a general conclusion: that we should not define ‘the physical’ exclusively in terms of a distinction drawn from ontology.
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-016-0774-4
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References found in this work BETA

A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1997 - Cambridge University Press.
Epiphenomenal Qualia.Frank Jackson - 1982 - Philosophical Quarterly 32 (April):127-136.

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Citations of this work BETA

Zombies.Robert Kirk - 2003 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Relation Between Subjects and Their Conscious Experiences.Henry Taylor - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (11):3493-3507.

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