I dont have all the modern philosophical terms down, but I cannot see how materialists/physicalists can make any claims. If there is nothing but physical universe, then there is no “truth”. Actually claims dont even exist. It takes an agent or a mind, and there is no real agent nor mind. The correspondence theory of truth doesnt work in a monist physical universe. The “cash value” idea also doesnt work. Where can I read about someone trying to answer my issue with materialism? Im not sure I even know the terms well enough to search, and have tried a bit. And/or what is your attempt to address them?


1 Answer 1


Modern physicalists generally do not argue any more that physicalism is actually monisitc. Here are three references published in the last two decades, that all agree that there are non-physical things in our universe:

https://www.amazon.com/Physicalism-Problems-Philosophy-Daniel-Stoljar/dp/0415452627/ref=sr_1_1?crid=32B84H7IR1HAM&keywords=physicalism+stoljar&qid=1641511847&sprefix=physicalism+stoljar%2Caps%2C153&sr=8-1 https://www.amazon.com/Physicalist-Manifesto-Thoroughly-Materialism-Philosophy/dp/0521827116/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=melnyk+physicalist&qid=1636559493&s=books&sr=1-1 https://www.physicalism.com/Rise-Physicalism.pdf

They do not even claim that non-physical things cannot be causal. Instead, they claim that non-physical things are somehow causally dependent on the physical -- hence all causation that affects the physical is traceable back to some physical earlier cause.

A proof of the dependence of math, morality, consciousness, or information on the physical has generally not been successfully achieved, therefore the secondary nature of these other non-physical things in a physicalist ontology is basically asserted as dogma, rather than being a supported position. But within that dogma, claims, agents, correspondence, truth, ideas, etc are accepted, and treated as non-physical but dependent. Physicalism today is sort of an monism and two halfs ontology, rather than a pure monsitic ontology, and claims use the extra halfs of the non-physical.

For a more complete discussion of this problem, see this question and answers: Name for a form of naturalism that allows for abstract objects

  • 1
    yup! in fact, the relation need not be causal dependence, but any species of grounding in the physical (if one buys into grounding relations outside of causal dependence).
    – emesupap
    Jun 6, 2022 at 2:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .