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28 votes
3 answers
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What is the difference between naturalism and materialism?

What is the difference between naturalism and materialism, if any? I see definitions of naturalism that say, in effect, it is the belief that there is no supernatural. But what is the supernatural ...
David Lewis's user avatar
22 votes
16 answers
3k views

Is knowledge non-physical?

What is the fundamental nature/ontology of knowledge? Is knowledge a physical state? Is knowledge a specific arrangement of physical particles in a brain, a book, a solid-state drive, a GPU, etc.? Or ...
Mark's user avatar
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15 votes
8 answers
1k 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), ...
Ameet Sharma's user avatar
  • 3,093
12 votes
4 answers
2k views

If zombies are possible would that imply that physicalism is false?

The SEP article on Zombies writes: Zombies in philosophy are imaginary creatures used to illuminate problems about consciousness and its relation to the physical world. Unlike those in films or ...
stoicfury's user avatar
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11 votes
9 answers
2k views

Is consciousness causally superfluous?

I cannot for the life of me even conceptualize the idea of conscious decisions causing an actual, physical effect (unless one becomes an idealist). Consciousness will always be a first person ...
user avatar
10 votes
17 answers
5k views

What is lost upon death?

If something at the moment of death contains the same matter as that something when alive, what is lost? How does physicalism (physical monism) explain what that loss is?
8Mad0Manc8's user avatar
10 votes
14 answers
4k views

How do we know that the mind is not a physical entity?

Most people believe that the mind is separate from the physical world. But how do we actually know that? Maybe the mind is a physical object. Of course, to answer this question, we need a rigorous ...
user107952's user avatar
  • 7,192
10 votes
7 answers
2k views

Should the evidence of OBEs and NDEs increase our epistemic probability of non-physicalist views of consciousness?

Should reports of out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and near-death experiences (NDEs) increase our epistemic probability of non-physicalist views of consciousness? In other words, should we judge non-...
Mark's user avatar
  • 6,037
9 votes
12 answers
3k views

Is non-physicalism reasonable?

My question has two components: Reasonableness. What does it mean for a position to be reasonable? What conditions does a position have to meet to be regarded as reasonable? Physicalism. Wikipedia ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 6,037
9 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why does Chalmers' argument about "the hard problem" not entail idealism?

Chalmers famously argues in Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness: At the end of the day, the same criticism applies to any purely physical account of consciousness. For any physical process we ...
David Lewis's user avatar
8 votes
11 answers
3k views

Do non physical causes exist?

When we decide to move an arm, some argue that it is an example of a mental event causing a physical effect. But doesn’t recent science show that free will may be illusory and from a time perspective, ...
user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
952 views

Physicalism + book recommendations

I'm 17 years old and I'm starting out in philosophy on my own. To get started I would like to get to know myself more and the way I think since according to what I have researched, I could define ...
WiseMode's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
4k views

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 ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
187 views

Is physicalism ultimately essentialist?

Classical Greek atomism arose basically as a response to the Eleatic criticism of the concept of change. The Eleatic argument was basically that if X=Y, then all properties of X must also be ...
David Gudeman's user avatar
7 votes
4 answers
323 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....
Imean's user avatar
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7 votes
4 answers
2k 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 ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
7 votes
4 answers
383 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 ...
user avatar
6 votes
11 answers
5k views

The ultimate absurdity: if consciousness is an illusion, how can anything we know be real?

Epiphenomenalism holds that conscious experience is an ineffectual by-product of brain activities. Eliminationists go further and add that this by-product is an illusion. I was wondering whether ...
infatuated's user avatar
  • 1,665
6 votes
5 answers
1k views

On the connection between science and reality

My question is basically targetting various sciences that we use to understnad the real world and how we form laws in them. For example, in physics, we first see sometthing in the real world. Let it ...
Aveer Singh's user avatar
6 votes
7 answers
805 views

Is physicalism the simplest worldview in terms of the complexity of its ontology? [closed]

Does physicalism enjoy the simplest ontology among all worldviews? Are there alternative conceivable views of reality with a simpler ontology than physicalism's that can explain the same data? For ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 6,037
6 votes
5 answers
429 views

Can the goals of an organism be imputed from observation?

For example: we observe an ant carrying food back to its nest. We may speak like the ant has a goal of increasing the amount of food in the nest. We observe a student proofreading an essay. We may ...
causative's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
865 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, ...
Probably's user avatar
  • 721
6 votes
2 answers
497 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?
user128932's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
647 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 ...
user132181's user avatar
  • 1,108
6 votes
1 answer
4k views

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 ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
5 votes
10 answers
3k views

Is it possible that non-living systems possess consciousness?

This relates to the physical nature of matter, not to metaphysics. I cannot find a robust, universal definition of consciousness, so perhaps the question is meaningless. I am thinking of the behaviour ...
Meanach's user avatar
  • 2,385
5 votes
6 answers
629 views

PhilPapers Survey 2020, Why do so many physicalists deny consciousness of future AI systems?

According to PhilPapers Survey from 2020 there are 239 philosophers who identify as accepting or leaning towards Physicalism and yet reject consciousness of future AI. To me this seems very puzzling, ...
ArAj's user avatar
  • 823
5 votes
6 answers
687 views

What's the difference between saying everything is made from mental substance and everything is made from physical substance?

Today it occurred to me that, to me, mental and physical content only really seem different when co-existing. But let's say everything is made of mental content: You're saying the mind and physical ...
edelex's user avatar
  • 1,079
5 votes
4 answers
643 views

Under physicalism, should I still be sad if my murdered wife is replaced with a perfect clone?

Context: This question follows up on Under physicalism, can my consciousness reappear in a different body?. Assume, for the sake of argument, that some form of physicalism is true. Imagine my wife is ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 6,037
5 votes
1 answer
736 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 ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
475 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 ...
Arnon Weinberg's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
448 views

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 ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
628 views

Which is the best explanation of the mind body relation, dualism or physicalism? [closed]

As far a my knowledge of philosophy there is two schools of thought dualism that the human mind is separate from the physical body, and the other school of thought is physicalism that the mind is ...
8Mad0Manc8's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
176 views

Are there several types of mind-independence?

Mind-independence relates to the famous falling tree nobody sees or hears, but which may still make a sound. We claim that the process is independent of our consciousness, and that therefore the ...
Mikael Jensen's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
235 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 ...
Yechiam Weiss's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
120 views

Can moral realism, physicalism, and physical causal closure be all true at the same time?

For illustrative purposes, let X be the set of all instances where Bob has tortured and eaten babies alive for fun. (Also assume that X is non-empty, to avoid trivial responses.) Suppose that ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 6,037
4 votes
2 answers
442 views

Objections to token-token identity theory in philosophy of mind

There are well known objections to type-type identity (IEP) such as multiple realization and Kripke's argument, but I don't know any objections acceptable (by the majority of philosophers) to this ...
Arian's user avatar
  • 313
4 votes
2 answers
534 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: ...
Nick Thomas's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
246 views

How can materialists make claims?

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 ...
Al Brown's user avatar
  • 486
4 votes
1 answer
855 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 ...
Frank Hubeny's user avatar
  • 19.5k
4 votes
2 answers
173 views

Is Polanyi's critique of physicalist view of the mind flawed?

In Personal Knowledge chapter 11 Polanyi elaborates his critique of the "physico-chemical investigations of a machine" by carefully dividing reasons and causes as types of explanations: ...
Yechiam Weiss's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
175 views

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 ...
user8083's user avatar
  • 389
4 votes
1 answer
231 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 ...
nir's user avatar
  • 4,960
4 votes
0 answers
95 views

How does representationalism respond to the "Mary's room argument"?

So here's Frank Jackson himself responding to his own argument using "representationalism": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPT0BE1WAHk So as I'm understanding Frank's newer view... when ...
Ameet Sharma's user avatar
  • 3,093
3 votes
8 answers
3k views

What do professional philosophers mean by physicalism or "everything is physical"

What do professional philosophers mean by "physicalism" ? The definition I use is that physicalism is the worldview that the entities that actually exist in the world are those used for ...
Ameet Sharma's user avatar
  • 3,093
3 votes
4 answers
313 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 ...
Matas Vaitkevicius's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
385 views

Freud and (German) idealism

The French wikipedia article on German romanticism mentions a very strong tie between Freud psychoanalysis and German romanticism. German romantism is also said to have strong link with German ...
Starckman's user avatar
  • 1,714
3 votes
5 answers
609 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 ...
astiara's user avatar
  • 139
3 votes
3 answers
449 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 ...
BlowMaMind's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
Quirky Trombone's user avatar