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4.1e. Physicalism about the Mind, Misc (Physicalism about the Mind, Misc on PhilPapers)

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Bishop, Robert C. (2006). The hidden premise in the causal argument for physicalism. Analysis 66 (289):44-52.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The causal argument for physicalism is anayzed and it's key premise--the causal closure of physics--is found wanting. Therefore, a hidden premise must be added to the argument to gain its conclusion, but the hidden premise is indistinguishable from the conclusion of the causal argument. Therefore, it begs the question on physicalism
Black, Max (1946). Some questions about Donald Williams' defense of materialism. Philosophical Review 55 (September):572-579.   (Google)
Carrier, Leonard S. (2006). Aristotelian materialism. Philosophia 34 (3).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: I argue that a modern gloss on Aristotle’s notions of Form and Matter not only allows us to escape a dualism of the psychological and the physical, but also results in a plausible sort of materialism. This is because Aristotle held that the essential nature of any psychological state, including perception and human thought, is to be some physical property. I also show that Hilary Putnam and Martha Nussbaum are mistaken in saying that Aristotle was not a materialist, but a functionalist. His functionalism should instead be given a materialistic interpretation, since he holds that only the appropriate sort of matter can realize the human psyche. Aristotle’s functionalism is therefore best viewed as a “causal functionalism,” in which functional descriptions enable us to find the right sort of material embodiment. By sidestepping dualistic assumptions, Aristotle also avoids having to deal with any further notion of consciousness
Caruso, Gregg (2001). Review of Nicholas Humphrey’s How to Solve the Mind-Body Problem. Metapsychology 5 (46).   (Google)
Chrucky, Andrew (1990). Critique of Wilfrid Sellars' Materialism. Dissertation, Fordham University   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Ellis, Brian (1967). Physical monism. Synthese 17 (June):141-161.   (Google | More links)
Esfeld, Michael (1999). Physicalism and ontological holism. Metaphilosophy 30 (4):319-337.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The claim of this paper is that we should envisage physicalism as an ontological holism. Our current basic physics, quantum theory, suggests that, ontologically speaking, we have to assume one global quantum state of the world; many of the properties that are often taken to be intrinsic properties of physical systems are in fact relations, which are determined by that global quantum state. The paper elaborates on this conception of physicalism as an ontological holism and considers issues such as supervenience, realization of higher-order properties by basic physical properties, and reduction. Keywords: physicalism, holism, relations, space-time, quantum physics, Humean supervenience
Fales, Evan (2007). Naturalism and physicalism. In Michael Martin (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Atheism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.   (Google)
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Fodor, Jerry A. (1981). Reply to professor Zaitchik on physicalism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 42 (December):292-293.   (Google)
Francescotti, Robert M. (1998). Defining "physicalism". Journal of Mind and Behavior 19 (1):51-64.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Garnett, A. Campbell (1948). Naturalism and the concept of matter. Journal of Philosophy 45 (August):477-488.   (Google | More links)
Gates, Gary (2001). Physicalism, empiricism, and positivism. In Carl Gillett & Barry M. Loewer (eds.), Physicalism and its Discontents. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Gillett, Carl & Loewer, Barry M. (eds.) (2001). Physicalism and its Discontents. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 16 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Physicalism, a topic that has been central to philosophy of mind and metaphysics in recent years, is the philosophical view that everything in the space-time world is ultimately physical. The physicalist will claim that all facts about the mind and the mental are physical facts and deny the existence of mental events and state insofar as these are thought of as independent of physical things, events and states. This collection of new essays offers a series of 'state-of-the-art' perspectives on this important doctrine and brings new depth and breadth to the philosophical debate. A group of distinguished philosophers, comprising both physicalists and their critics, consider a wide range of issues including the historical genesis and present justification of physicalism, its metaphysical presuppositions and methodological role, its implications for mental causation, and the account it provides of consciousness
Goldstein, Irwin (1996). Ontology, epistemology, and private ostensive definition. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 56 (1):137-147.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: People see five kinds of views in epistemology and ontology as hinging on there being words a person can learn only by private ostensive definitions, through direct acquaintance with his own sensations: skepticism about other minds, 2. skepticism about an external world, 3. foundationalism, 4. dualism, and 5. phenomenalism. People think Wittgenstein refuted these views by showing, they believe, no word is learnable only by private ostensive definition. I defend these five views from Wittgenstein’s attack.
Green, O. Harvey (1973). Some supposed advantages of materialism. Analysis 33 (March):124-129.   (Google)
Guleserian, Theodore (1971). Contemporary materialism and epistemological values. International Philosophical Quarterly 11 (September):403-426.   (Google)
Hellman, G. & Thomson, F. (1977). Physicalist materialism. Noûs 11 (November):309-45.   (Cited by 12 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Hellman, G. & Thomson, F. (1975). Physicalism: Ontology, determination and reduction. Journal of Philosophy 72 (October):551-64.   (Cited by 56 | Google | More links)
Hook, Sidney (1944). Is physical realism sufficient? Journal of Philosophy 41 (September):544-550.   (Google | More links)
Howell, Robert J. (2009). The Ontology of Subjective Physicalism. Nous 43 (2):315-345.   (Google | More links)
Huttemann, A. (2004). What's Wrong with Microphysicalism. Routledge.   (Cited by 6 | Google | More links)
Jackson, Frank (1994). Finding the Mind in the Natural World. In Roberto Casati, B. Smith & Stephen L. White (eds.), Philosophy and the Cognitive Sciences. Holder-Pichler-Tempsky.   (Cited by 27 | Annotation | Google)
Jacob, Pierre (2002). Some problems for reductive physicalism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65 (3):648-654.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Jarrett, Charles E. (1982). Materialism. Philosophy Research Archives 1459.   (Google)
Kim, Jaegwon (1971). Materialism and the criteria of the mental. Synthese 22 (May):323-345.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Kim, Jaegwon (2005). Physicalism, or Something Near Enough. Princeton University Press.   (Cited by 49 | Google)
Abstract: "This is a fine volume that clarifies, defends, and moves beyond the views that Kim presented in Mind in a Physical World.
Kirkham, Richard L. (1993). Tarski's physicalism. Erkenntnis 38 (3):289-302.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract:   Hartry Field has argued that Alfred Tarski desired to reduce all semantic concepts to concepts acceptable to physicalism and that Tarski failed to do this. In the two succeeding decades, Field has been charged with being too lenient with Tarski; but it has been almost universally accepted that an objection at least as strong as Field's is telling against Tarski's theory. Close examination of the relevant literature, most of it printed in this journal in the 1930s, reveals that Field's conception of physicalism is anachronistic. Tarski did succeed in furthering the sort of physicalist program he had in mind
Leeds, Stephen (2001). Possibility: Physical and metaphysical. In Carl Gillett & Barry M. Loewer (eds.), Physicalism and Its Discontents. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Levine, Joseph (online). Comments on Melnyk's A Physicalist Manifesto.   (Google)
Lewis, David (1983). New work for a theory of universals. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (December):343-377.   (Cited by 399 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Liz, Manuel (2001). New physical properties. In Tian Yu Cao (ed.), The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, Volume 10: Philosophy of Science. Philosophy Doc Ctr.   (Google)
Loewer, Barry M. (2001). From physics to physicalism. In Carl Gillett & Barry M. Loewer (eds.), Physicalism and its Discontents. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 24 | Google)
Abstract: The appeal of materialism lies precisely in this, in its claim to be natural metaphysics within the bounds of science. That a doctrine which promises to gratify our ambition (to know the noumenal) and our caution (not to be unscientific) should have great appeal is hardly something to be wondered at. (Putnam (1983), p.210) Materialism says that all facts, in particular all mental facts, obtain in virtue of the spatio- temporal distribution, and properties, of matter. It was, as Putnam says, “metaphysics within the bounds of science”, but only so long as science was thought to say that the world is made out of matter.1 In this century physicists have learned that there is more in the world than matter and, in any case, matter isn’t quite what it seemed to be. For this reason many philosophers who think that metaphysics should be informed by science advocate physicalism in place of materialism. Physicalism claims that all facts obtain in virtue of the distribution of the fundamental entities and properties –whatever they turn out to be- of completed fundamental physics. Later I will discuss a more precise formulation. But not all contemporary philosophers embrace physicalism. Some- and though a minority not a small or un-influential one- think that physicalism is rather the metaphysics for an unjustified scientism; i.e. it is scientistic metaphysics. Those among them that think that physicalism can be clearly formulated think that it characterizes a
Madell, Geoffrey C. (1988). Mind and Materialism. Edinburgh University Press.   (Cited by 10 | Annotation | Google)
Margolis, Joseph (1973). The perils of physicalism. Mind 82 (October):566-578.   (Google | More links)
Maxwell, Nicholas (1966). Physics and common sense. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 16 (February):295-311.   (Cited by 8 | Google | More links)
McGinn, Colin (1980). Philosophical materialism. Synthese 44 (June):173-206.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Melnyk, Andrew (2003). A Physicalist Manifesto: Thoroughly Modern Materialism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 43 | Google | More links)
Abstract: A Physicalist Manifesto is the fullest treatment yet of the comprehensive physicalist view that, in some important sense, everything is physical. Andrew Melnyk argues that the view is best formulated by appeal to a carefully worked-out notion of realization, rather than supervenience; that, so formulated, physicalism must be importantly reductionist; that it need not repudiate causal and explanatory claims framed in non-physical language; and that it has the a posteriori epistemic status of a broad-scope scientific hypothesis. Two concluding chapters argue in unprecedented detail that contemporary science provides no significant empirical evidence against physicalism and some considerable evidence for it. Written in a brisk, candid, and exceptionally clear style, this book should appeal to professionals and students in philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and philosophy of science
Melnyk, Andrew (1994). Being a physicalist: How and (more importantly) why. Philosophical Studies 74 (2):221-241.   (Cited by 5 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Melnyk, Andrew (2002). Physicalism. In Stephen P. Stich & Ted A. Warfield (eds.), Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell.   (Cited by 11 | Google | More links)
Melnyk, Andrew (1995). Physicalism, ordinary objects, and identity. Journal of Philosophical Research 20:221-235.   (Google)
Melnyk, Andrew (2003). Some evidence for physicalism. In Sven Walter & Heinz-Dieter Heckmann (eds.), Physicalism and Mental Causation. Imprint Academic.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Montero, Barbara & Papineau, David (2005). A defense of the via negativa argument for physicalism. Analysis 65 (287):233-237.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Montero, Barbara (2003). Varieties of causal closure. In Sven Walter & Heinz-Dieter Heckmann (eds.), Physicalism and Mental Causation. Imprint Academic.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Moser, Paul K. (1996). Physicalism and mental causes: Contra Papineau. Analysis 56 (4):263-67.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Ney, Alyssa (2007). Physicalism and our knowledge of intrinsic properties. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (1):41 – 60.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: that the properties of science are purely extrinsic with the metaphysical principle that substances must also have intrinsic properties, the arguments reach the conclusion that there are intrinsic properties of whose natures we cannot know. It is the goal of this paper to establish that such arguments are not just ironic but extremely problematic. The optimistic physicalist principles that help get the argument off the ground ultimately undermine any justification the premises give for acceptance of the conclusion. Though I do find these arguments unsound, it is nevertheless worthwhile to consider them in order to see more clearly what should be the methodology of the philosopher inclined to take the discoveries of physical science as having ontological authority. And, I hope, what follows will prompt the physicalist to ask herself – what room _is_ there for metaphysics once physical science is complete?
Noren, Stephen J. (1972). A quick materialism. Southern Journal of Philosophy 10:33-36.   (Google)
Noren, Stephen J. (1972). The two theory approach to materialism. Southwestern Journal of Philosophy 3:81-90.   (Google)
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Papineau, David (2001). The rise of physicalism. In Carl Gillett & Barry M. Loewer (eds.), Physicalism and its Discontents. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 26 | Google)
Abstract: In this paper I want to discuss the way in which physical science has come to claim a particular kind of hegemony over other subjects in the second half of this century. This claim to hegemony is generally known by the name of "physicalism". In this paper I shall try to understand why this doctrine has come to prominence in recent decades. By placing this doctrine in a historical context, we will be better able to appreciate its strengths and weaknesses
Polger, Tom (online). A posteriori physicalism.   (Google)
Abstract: A consideration of the benefits of taking physicalism to be necessarily true if true, against the standard view that physicalism is at best contingently true. Presented at the 2006 Central Division meeting of the APA, in the session Themes from Jaegwon Kim, sponsored by the Society for Asian and Asian-American Philosophy
Poland, Jeffrey S. (1994). Physicalism: The Empirical Foundations. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 45 | Google | More links)
Raatikainen, Panu, The return of reductive physicalism.   (Google)
Abstract: The importance of the exclusion argument for contemporary physicalism is emphasized. The recent attempts to vindicate reductive physicalism by invoking certain needed revisions to the Nagelian model of reduction are then discussed. It is argued that such revised views of reduction offer in fact much less help to reductive physicalism than is sometimes supposed, and that many of these views lead to trouble when combined with the exclusion argument
Rast, Erich (2009). What Simulations Can't Do. The Reasoner 3 (10):5-6.   (Google)
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Robinson, Howard M. (ed.) (1993). Objections to Physicalism. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 15 | Annotation | Google)
Abstract: Physicalism has, over the past twenty years, become almost an orthodoxy, especially in the philosophy of mind. Many philosophers, however, feel uneasy about this development, and this volume is intended as a collective response to it. Together these papers, written by philosophers from Britain, the United States, and Australasia, show that physicalism faces enormous problems in every area in which it is discussed. The contributors not only investigate the well-known difficulties that physicalism has in accommodating sensory consciousness, but also bring out its inadequacies in dealing with thought, intentionality, abstract objects, (such as numbers), and principles of both theoretical and practical reason; even its ability to cope with the physical world itself is called into question. Both strong "reductionist" versions and weaker "supervenience" theories are discussed and found to face different but equally formidable obstacles. Contributors include George Bealer, Peter Forrest, John Foster, Grant Gillett, Bob Hale, Michael Lockwood, George Myro, Nicholas Nathan, David Smith, Steven Wagner, Ralph Walker, and Richard Warner
Sayers, Sean, A note on emergent materialism.   (Google)
Abstract: In common with other forms of nonreductive materialism, emergent materialism of this sort is accused of trying to have its cake and eat it. Ontological physicalism, it is said, necessarily implies reductionism which rules out the idea that there are irreducible emergent mental properties and laws. For according to such physicalism, everything is composed of physical constituents whose behaviour is governed by the laws of physics and mechanics. It follows that, in theory at least, every particular mental process is describable and explainable in purely physical terms, without recourse to mental descriptions. Description in terms of emergent properties and laws seems superfluous. Nothing save the complexity of the task prevents us from describing and explaining everything that exists or happens in purely physical terms
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Abstract: The present work is focussed on the completeness of physics, or what is here called the Completeness Thesis: the claim that the domain of the physical is causally closed. Two major questions are tackled: How best is the Completeness Thesis to be formulated? What can be said in defence of the Completeness Thesis? My principal conclusions are that the Completeness Thesis can be coherently formulated, and that the evidence in favour if it significantly outweighs that against it. In opposition to those who argue that formulation is impossible because no account of what is to count as physical can be provided, I argue that as long as the purpose of the argument in which the account is to be used are borne in mind there are no significant difficulties. The account of the physical which I develop holds as physical whatever is needed to fix the likelihood of pre-theoretically given physical effects, and hypothesises in addition that no chemical, biological or psychological factors will be needed in this way. The thus formulated Completeness Thesis is coherent, and has significant empirical content. In opposition to those who defend the doctrine of emergentism by means of philosophical arguments I contend that those arguments are flawed, setting up misleading dichotomies between needlessly attenuated alternatives and assuming the truth of what is to be proved. Against those who defend emergentism by appeal to the evidence, I argue that the history of science since the nineteenth century shows clearly that the empirical credentials of the view that the world is causally closed at the level of a small number of purely physical forces and types of energy is stronger than ever, and the credentials of emergentism correspondingly weaker. In opposition to those who argue that difficulties with reductionism point to the implausibility of the Completeness Thesis I argue that completeness in no way entails the kinds of reductionism which give rise to the difficulties in question. I argue further that the truth of the Completeness Thesis is in fact compatible with a great deal of taxonomic disorder and the impossibility of any general reduction of non-fundamental descriptions to fundamental ones. In opposition to those who argue that the epistemological credentials of fundamental physical laws are poor, and that those laws should in fact be seen as false, I contend that truth preserving accounts of fundamental laws can be developed. Developing such an account, I test it by considering cases of the composition of forces and causes, where what takes place is different to what is predicted by reference to any single law, and argue that viewing laws as tendencies allows their truth to be preserved, and sense to be made of both the experimental discovery of laws, and the fact that composition enables accurate prediction in at least some cases
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Abstract: According to an increasing number of authors, the best, if not the only, argument in favour of physicalism is the so-called 'overdetermination argument'. This argument, if sound, establishes that all the entities that enter into causal interactions with the physical world are physical. One key premise in the overdetermination argument is the principle of the causal closure of the physical world, said to be supported by contemporary physics. In this paper, I examine various ways in which physics may support the principle, either as a methodological guide or as depending on some other laws and principles of physics
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Abstract: How should physical entities be characterized? Physicalists, who have most to do with the notion, usually characterize the physical by reference to two components: 1. The physical entities are the entities treated by fundamental physics with the proviso that 2. Physical entities are not fundamentally mental (that is, do not individually possess or bestow mentality) Here I explore the extent to which the appeals to fundamental physics and to the NFM (“no fundamental mentality”) constraint are appropriate for characterizing the physical, especially for purposes of formulating physicalism. Ultimately, I motivate and defend a version of an account incorporating both components: The physics-based NFM account: An entity existing at a world w is physical iff (i) it is treated, approximately accurately, by current or future (in the limit of inquiry, ideal) versions of fundamental physics at w, and (ii) it is not fundamentally mental (that is, does not individually either possess or bestow mentality)
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Abstract: What has come to be known as “a priori physicalism” is the thesis, roughly, that the non-physical truths in the actual world can be deduced a priori from a complete physical description of the actual world. To many contemporary philosophers, a priori physicalism seems extremely implausible. In this paper I distinguish two kinds of a priori physicalism. One sort – strict a priori physicalism – I reject as both unmotivated and implausible. The other sort – liberal a priori physicalism – I argue is both motivated and plausible. This variety of a priori physicalism insists that the necessitation of non-physical truths by the physical facts must be underwritten in a certain fashion by a priori knowledge, but the a priori knowledge need not amount to a simple deduction of the non-physical truths from a complete physical description of the world. Further, this sort of liberal a priori physicalism has the advantage that it offers hope for a genuinely satisfying account of how the physical facts manage to necessitate the facts about phenomenal consciousness – thereby in effect solving the “hard problem” of consciousness. The first half of the paper sets out the motivation for liberal a priori physicalism and its superiority to the strict version; the second half presents one strategy available to the liberal a priori physicalist for showing how consciousness can be accommodated in a purely physical world
Witmer, D. Gene (2000). Locating the overdetermination problem. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51 (2).   (Google)
Abstract: Physicalists motivate their position by posing a problem for the opposition: given the causal completeness of physics and the impact of the mental (or, more broadly, the seemingly nonphysical) on the physical, antiphysicalism implies that causal overdetermination is rampant. This argument is, however, equivocal in its use of 'physical'. As Scott Sturgeon has recently argued, if 'physical' means that which is the object of physical theory, completeness is plausible, but the further claim that the mental has a causal impact on the physical is no longer so evident. In this paper I assess the damage due to the ambiguity of 'physical' and provide a repair to the overdetermination strategy