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Questions tagged [physicalism]

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Is there an argument against physicalism on the grounds that the view would make what we call a subjective experience astronomically unlikely?

If we assume that physcialism is true and all that there is, then we can safely assume that what we think of as subjective experience and consciousness, is driven by the atoms in our brain and the ...
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1answer
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Is physicalism an unfalsifiable position?

A follow up from this question: is materialism a self refuting position Does physicalism include epistemological principles that make it impossible to disprove by its own standard ? If I am a ...
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1answer
112 views

Debate on dualism, physicalism. etc in philosophy of mind

(I do not have a philosophy background but I do read philosophy myself.) I have read some review papers of emergence theory, where philosophy of mind is a major battle ground. I find an absence of a ...
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59 views

Is “physicality precedes spiritual” a view or a state of nature?

Is "physicality precedes spiritual" a view or a state of nature? Are there views that would question this kind of "physicalism"? Perhaps one can find some dichotomy in expressing the idea through ...
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1answer
127 views

Does strong AI disprove physicalism?

This question is motivated by a comment to an answer I provided to another question about John Searle and the Chinese Room Argument: What relevance, if any, does collective memory in ants have to John ...
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1answer
91 views

What's the problem with taking physicalism as “all there is is physical, so no problem between abstract/conceptual and physical can exist”?

What's the problem with taking physicalism as "all there is is physical, so no problem between abstract/conceptual and physical can exist"? Why is "all there is is physical" not enough? Why does one ...
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3answers
288 views

The philosophical relationship of morality, rationalism, atheism and physicalism

I am an atheist and I hold a physicalist view of the world, that the world is made but of one kind of stuff (call it "physical", if you want) and the universe is composed only of one kind of ...
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3answers
133 views

What is the definition of physical? Is that definition clear enough to make the a distinction between physical and non-physical?

Awkwardly synthesizing jobermark's old question Is there a boundary on 'physical'? with my (badly put) question Can physics talk about non-physical entities/concepts, and if not which academic ...
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103 views

Does physicalism imply everything can be defined?

Does physicalism imply everything can be defined at least to a certain extent?
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1answer
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Do materialists today consider physical forces as created from matter?

The distinction from materialism and physicalism is usually that materialists believe everything is matter, and physicalists believe that everything is physical, which lets them include modern science ...
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95 views

Does the Knowledge argument refute physicalism?

Is there any research that disproves Jackson's three premises? Is there any research which argues that Mary does not learn all the physical facts whilst in the room, because experience itself ...
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Is my personal identity physical? [duplicate]

In the context of physicalism, Is it consistent to think that I am what I experience and also the physical processes which give rise to my experiences?
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3answers
268 views

Physicalistic alternatives to utilitarianism?

In one episode, Doctor Who finds out he's trapped on a horror-like island and he finds out his time machine he could escape with is frozen in the hardest rock on earth. He also finds out that every ...
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2answers
520 views

If consciousness was an illusion, would it be less real?

Even though qualia are generally considered to be unexplainable, there are philosophers like Daniel Dennett attempting to get to the core of consciousness with scientific methods. In his view, ...
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2answers
204 views

Is the “speed of time” perception a quale we can share?

The perception of time seems to be a quale as every other else. Though, the unique thing about it could be that it's actually measurable. People regulate their drowsiness by objective factors like ...
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1answer
85 views

Does physicalism think a priori knowledge exists?

Does physicalism think a priori knowledge exists? If so, how is this knowledge explained? Is the idea like morality being coded in DNA?
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78 views

Physicalism: If consciousness isn't an illusion, what's its nature? What are the best clues?

I'm asking very generally so I'm expecting very general answers. I've read the answers from the question: How can consciousness be an illusion? and I pretty much got understanding of how our brain ...
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4answers
240 views

Am I just a force of nature? (physicalist determinism)

I was pondering for a while on determinism and had a hard time explaining how we living things are seemingly able to change our surroundings by force of will. Inanimate object can change their ...
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2answers
133 views

How does Physicalism treat “non-physical” things such as ethics?

To me Physicalism seems to miss some aspects of animals, such as that their behavior may not be entirely physically explained. How does Physicalism treat "non-physical" things such as ethics?
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1answer
382 views

How does the physicalism discuss the line between life and death?

In this day and age with modern medicine, the line between life and death are blurred, as the brain dead may act as if it's alive, and the alive, due to being comatose may be reposed as if dead. What ...
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211 views

Physicalism versus dualism: is it reasonable to assign a burden of proof to one party?

I've been watching some video lectures online, and in some of the videos, the professor argues essentially as follows: Both the dualist and the physicalist believe in the body. This is status quo....
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336 views

My thought experiment on consciousness

Scenario 1: Somebody removed your brain, destroyed it, and then replaced it with another which was identical (and replaced all the connections as they were). Essentially every atom/molecule would be ...
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3answers
2k views

What is the difference between hard determinism and compatibilism, under the assumption of physicalism?

(For the purposes of this question, I am assuming that some form of physicalism holds.) When I read about hard determinism and compatibilism, it struck me that they seem to be placing different ...
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1answer
114 views

Does physicalism imply no truth?

It seems to me that the act of searching for truth, finding truth, and expressing truth is all just transformations of matter (and energy). For example, suppose I am proving some mathematical theorem....
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1answer
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does exclusion + supervenience + pairing necessitate reductionism?

If one accepts the exclusion argument (no physical event has a non-physical cause), the supervenience argument (no mental event causes any other mental event), and the pairing problem (no physical ...
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2answers
1k views

What's the problem with physicalism in philosophy of mind?

It seems that physicalism and functionalism in philosophy of mind has fallen out of popularity and into much criticism. I haven't delved too deeply into the literature, but I find it somewhat strange ...
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2answers
271 views

What would non-reductive physicalists say about the mind and teleportation? [closed]

Non-reductive physicalists have a view in dualism that creates an idea of mental properties that can be mapped to neurobiological properties, but said mental properties are not ontologically reduced ...
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7answers
764 views

Is there a causal influence of the mental on the physical?

Regardless of whether the mental is ultimately physical or not... doesn't the impact of human knowledge (science, mathematics, etc) on the world (ie: technology, agriculture, basically everything), ...
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1answer
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What is the difference between type identity physicalism and eliminativism?

Type identity physicalism says mental states are identical with brain states. Eliminativism on the other hand states that mental states don't exist at all. Isn't this just a word game? Does it ...
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2answers
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What is the difference between Naturalism and Physicalism?

I am trying to figure the difference between Naturalism and Physicalism. As far as I could tell, they were the same thing, except that physicalism (physicalist vs dualist) was the term used when ...
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1answer
466 views

Does materialism presuppose that a self is a bundle of mental states and perceptions?

The physicalist/materialist (going forward I'll use the two interchangeably) position on the mind body problem is the following: Nothing exits besides the physical and therefore the mind is just a ...
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2answers
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What is the difference between functionalism and property dualism?

Functionalism and property dualism are both physicalist theories of the mind in that they don't admit any substances other than physical substance. Property dualism holds that mental states are non-...
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0answers
108 views

Are you familiar with a similar argument against the (nomological) supervenience of the mental on the physical?

The SEP article on supervenience claims "Just about everyone, even a Cartesian dualist, believes some version of this supervenience claim [that the mental nomologically supervenes on the physical]." ...
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1answer
122 views

Please recommend a good book on Physicalism

Can you recommend a good contemporary book that is considered a definitive or classical exposition of Physicalism? I have started reading Daniel Stoljar's Physicalism, but while it seems good, it is ...
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1answer
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Does mental incapacity imply physical incapacity? [closed]

If someone is mentally incapable of doing something, does that also mean they are physically incapable of doing it? My argument is that since the brain is a physical and material object, assuming that ...
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4answers
1k views

Why is Multiple Realizability considered to have refuted the type-identity theory of the mind?

Def 1: Type-identity theory: brain states and mental states are the same thing. The mental state "I love Metallica" is nothing more than the neural configuration of a Metallica fan. Def 2: Multiple ...
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2answers
186 views

Is there a term for materialistic non-determinism?

I was trying to explain to someone that an underlying assumption of science is ... and then couldn't come up with a term to describe it. What I'm hoping to give a name to, is the idea that the world ...
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2answers
900 views

If materialism is true, then what accounts for pleasure and pain?

[I went and wrote a long answer to a question that was in the interim deleted, so rather than waste that, I thought I'd do my best to reproduce it here. Credit to Micheal Lee for the original, some ...
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274 views

Is there a boundary on 'physical'?

I have asserted many times here that physicalism as degraded into an undecidable question, and I would like to see how strong my understanding is. It seems to me that whenever we approach the ...
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2answers
363 views

Are there thought experiments about physicalism?

Other than Mary's Room and maybe Searle's Chinese Room are there any other interesting thought experiments against the ideas of physicalism, and the idea our minds are identical to our brains?
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2answers
833 views

How do res cogitans and res extensa interact?

In all religions that ever existed, there is a soul and a God - two intangible things. From physics we know that there is no difference between a particle without the electrical charge, mass and ...
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3answers
195 views

Not Turing reducible = non-physical?

According to the following question, it is likely the physical universe can be simulated on a Turing machine. Is the universe isomorphic to a universal turing machine? If so, does this imply ...
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3answers
366 views

Existence of abstract objects for a physicalist

Let's say I'm a physicalist. Usually then, I will think of abstract objects as mental constructs, which are dictated by mental states, which, as a physicalist will say, are manifestations of physical ...
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1answer
385 views

Nomologically possible worlds and physicalism

As I understand, nomologically possible world is a world which is governed by the laws of physics of the actual world, but doesn't that kind of entail that in all nomologically possible worlds (...
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1answer
98 views

What speaks for — and against — elimiative physicalism?

In the body-mind-problem, I myself stand on the side of eliminative physicalism. I find this position to be the easiest to argue for: We saw persons changing their minds when their brains changed, ...
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547 views

How is physicalism true? [closed]

Assumptions: Human auras exist. There is a subset of the population who are capable of discerning their properties, by whatever means. Machines can not sense human auras. Following these ...
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5answers
448 views

Would rebuilding a human body rebuild the person it was?

I have zero background in philosophy, so forgive me for...asking this in an informal manner. We have a hypothetical scenario. Suppose that our consciousness at some time were reducible to ...
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2answers
385 views

How do correspondence theories handle statements like these?

I have a number of true statements. Each of these statements is a case where I have difficulty seeing how (assuming physicalism) the statement could correspond to a state of affairs. My question is: ...
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339 views

Is materialism actually material?

physicalism allows for forces such as gravity which on the face of it are not material as say the cup of tea I have to hand. So materialism literally taken seems to be wrong. But looking at this more ...
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Does physicalism *prove* that the universe is self-subsistent?

I've often heard/read people (Hawking, Dawkins etc) making out that Physics or Physicalism proves that there is no God, or no need for one. Yet it seems to me that it's an assumption that is ...