Formulating the thesis of physicalism

A different response is to adopt a formulation of physicalism that is weaker than supervenience physicalism; this strategy is pursued in Leuenberger The claim is that whatever is found to be not reducible to the posits of physics will ultimately be incorporated into physics.

This question is in fact a highly vexed one in contemporary philosophy.


It is important to see just how we might go about trying to show this. But most have thought of it as contingent, a truth about our world which might have been otherwise.

If this is done, then much that has been said about Chisholm's and Sellars' rejection of logical behaviorism, as well as about our own reasons for such a rejection, may be said, mutatis mutandis, about such a thesis of physicalism.

See Jackson, this volume. Several philosophers, including Horgan here, have argued for just such a failure of incoherence. First, what is it for a property, kind, relation, or indi- vidual to be a physical one.

If physicalism is true at all, it must be true of these properties as much as any other properties. It is of course clear that there are certain predicates which apply to the one sort of thing as well as to the other: Mary is forced to learn about the world via black and white television and computers.

The mere fact that every particular has a physical property does not rule out the possibility that some particulars also have non-supervenient mental properties, i.

Formulating the Thesis of Physicalism

If we could not, then, at least for cases of occurrences of the thought that it is raining, we should be able to specify each occurrence in terms of empirical characteristics and independently of the intentional role played, but the only characteristics which all occurrences would have in common would be that they each played the same intentional role.

But if physicalism is defined according to 1then physicalism may still be true, for it remains possible that any minimal physical duplicate of the world is a duplicate simpliciter. For this reason, it does not seem that 1' exhibits any advantages, as a formulation of logical behaviorism, over 1and therefore the former will not be discussed in what follows.

I will close our discussion of the interpretation question by considering the relation between physicalism the metaphysical claim and various other items that at least sometimes have been thought to be a part of the Physicalist World Picture.

Would panpsychism likewise be true at such a world. Much of recent philosophy of mind is devoted to the question whether that idea is right. Thus Sellars argues that to view sensations as intentional, in the sense of being about something, is to confuse the two different senses of 'of' in the expressions sense impression of a red triangle and thought of a red triangle.

If physicalism is construed along the lines suggested in 1then we have an answer to the completeness question. There are also a number of other arguments in this area — for a very good recent discussion, see Chalmers And we may take as initial members of our class of psychological terms certain terms which seem clear cases of psychological terms in a given language.

So physicalism is rendered trivially true. Nevertheless the reverse entailment does not hold. In particular, it seems that there is no reason to suppose that anything which Chisholm would wish to claim would be incompatible with what we have called the revised thesis of physicalism, construed as involving a sense of the expressions 'adequately describe' and 'say all we might wish to about' which is weaker than the sense which Chisholm's thesis would invoke, and nonetheless sufficiently strong to generate a plausible and interesting version of physicalism.

Many authors have taken up the challenge of formulating physicalism as a supervenience thesis. These endeavors have met with varying response, but it seems that the general consensus still remains that a supervenience thesis that is both sufficient and necessary for physicalism has yet to be developed.

Intuitively, physicalism is the thesis that there’s nothing ‘over and above’ the physical. Going beyond this intuitive formulation requires an account of what it is for a property, kind.

THE POSSIBILITY OF PHYSICALISM* I t has been suggested that many philosophical theses—physicalism, nominalism, normative naturalism, and so on—should be under. These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Formulating the Thesis of Physicalism. Janice Dowell, J. L. - - Philosophical Studies (1) details Perhaps more controversial than whether physicalism is true is what exactly would have to be true for physicalism to be true.

formulating the thesis of physicalism 9 2. CHARACTERIZING ‘NOTHING OVER AND ABOVE’ Once the physical in its primary sense has been characterized, physicalists need a physicalist-friendly extension rule, that is, a rule that says how properties that are not primarily physical must be related to the primary ones compatible with being physical, albeit not primarily so.

Formulating the thesis of physicalism
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Janice Dowell, J. L., Formulating the thesis of physicalism - PhilPapers