39 votes
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How do materialists respond to the thought experiment of the perception of blue and red colors being swapped?

The famous version of this is Twin Earth thought experiment, which explores two worlds which are identical, except one has no H2O. The H2O in this world is instead replaced with a substance XYZ. ...
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16 votes
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Why is the statement about "Freewill is an illusion" considered profound?

The idea that free will is an illusion does not originate with Sam Harris, but is around since, at least, Spinoza (Ethics book 2 proposition 35: men are mistaken in thinking themselves free ; their ...
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  • 2,894
14 votes

Can someone be an atheist and subscribe to substance dualism at the same time?

From what I have read so, atheism and materialism/physicalism are considered to be the same thing. This is incorrect. Atheism is a view about the existence of God. Materialism is a metaphysical view ...
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11 votes
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Why do modern materialists tend to favor determinism?

I tend to share your puzzlement. A lot of contemporary metaphysicians seem to have an outdated view of physics, not only about determinism but also about locality or mereology. (This was criticized by ...
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11 votes
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Is there a causal influence of the mental on the physical?

The threat of epiphenomenalism is indeed a major issue intensively discussed in the last decades. But while there is a broad consensus against it, there is no agreement as to what exactly blocks it. ...
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9 votes

Can someone be an atheist and subscribe to substance dualism at the same time?

Being an atheist does not imply a materialistic worldview, it simply means one does not believe in (a) God. Having said that, I think an atheist would likely have a materialist worldview simply ...
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  • 1,810
8 votes

What are the problems with the argument for the mind-body dualism from immateriality of thoughts?

This argument is a variation on what Kitcher calls the "rational psychologist's fallacy" in Kant's Transcendental Psychology. It is a particular case of the argument from ignorance fallacy, and was ...
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7 votes

Does science provide the most accurate depiction of reality for analyzing and describing an accurate worldview?

The word "best" implies value judgments, and can't be evaluated independent of your goals for your worldview. But there are clear practical and pragmatic reasons why science is currently a dominant ...
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6 votes

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

First, the constructive part. Crick, who is as physicalist on neuroscience as one can wish for, in Astonishing Hypothesis discusses "the processing postulate": "It suggests that we may be using the ...
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6 votes

How can Marx be a materialist yet still speak of a human "essence" in his theory of alienation?

One should keep in mind two points. First, historical materialism in its traditional form is later Marx, taking final shape in Das Kapital, the theory of alienation is young Hegelian Marx of 1844 ...
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6 votes

Does science forces us to embrace materialism?

A relevant distinction here is between "ontological materialism" and "methodological materialism" (compare the discussion in the SEPh article on "naturalism"). Ontological materialism is the claim ...
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  • 2,407
6 votes

How do materialists respond to the thought experiment of the perception of blue and red colors being swapped?

Twin A experiences the perception, call it PR, of the color red (that is, the material event, call it MR, of photons of a particular wavelength hitting the retina and stimulating neurons). Can you ...
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6 votes

Can physical aspects of the brain reveal everything about what one's subjective experience is like?

You are asking one of the outstanding unknown questions in philosophy: do mental states supervene on brain states or not? "Supervene" is a really great word. If A supervenes on B, it means that if ...
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6 votes
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What does the experience of free will imply in a materialistic worldview?

There are several questions here and there are several different domains of philosophy involved. One major question is about ontology: is what we call 'free will' a 'real' experience and what's the ...
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6 votes

If all we see is the sensible world, what are the proofs to affirm that matter exists?

If all we perceive is the sensible world, how can we ensure that something like matter exists? Even if we could make sure that matter exists, what would it be? I take the example of the matrix film, ...
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  • 286
5 votes
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Has Marxism been refuted as philosophy?

Marxism has many aspects to it; the main difference appears to be as a political movement, and as a school of thought. As a political movement, it is as political and legal theorist Roberto Unger put ...
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5 votes
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How did George Berkeley justify his disbelief in matter?

Berkeley gives two arguments in the quoted passage, and the first one does resonate with Kant's later arguments. But Berkeley's came before Kant's. First, he says that the notion of matter is "...
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5 votes
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Henry George vs. Karl Marx

Welcome, October ! Some contrasts between Marx and George are drawn out in an article by John Haynes Holmes. Holmes' plain and sometimes undiscerning lack of sympathy for Marx and extolling of ...
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5 votes

What do philosophers mean when they say qualia do not exist?

The position is that of eliminative materialism, or of delusionism, relative to consciousness. The two are somewhat different. Qualia are often cited by non-physicalists as direct evidence against ...
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  • 4,330
5 votes

How do we explain the brain's ability of thinking about non-materialistic concepts?

There's an implicit assumption in this question which can be challenged. Do we in fact understand good and evil - or, perhaps more accurately, what sort of thing is the "good/evil" ...
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4 votes

Did Hegel propagate the concept of dialectical materialism?

I believe Marx proposed Dialectic materialism by "reversing" the Hegelian dialectic idealism so to make it stand with "the feet on the ground". As i know "material" for Hegel is an idea. But "idea" is ...
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4 votes

Dialectical materialism outside Marxism

Henri Lefebvre wrote a book Dialectical Materialism to attempt to divorce DM from its vulgarization by Stalinists and official Communist party philosophers and develop it as a form of "logic." I ...
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4 votes
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If materialism is true, then what accounts for pleasure and pain?

According to wikipedia, physicalism is now-a-days the preferred term to materialism in order to better include physical phenomenon which might be considered immaterial, e.g., fields or space itself. ...
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4 votes
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About atheism and secularism and what exactly they are

They are belief systems. Any conjecture on a situation that has no proven answer is a belief. No exceptions. Nobody knows for certain the meaning or lack of meaning in the universe and thus any ...
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4 votes
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Can someone be an atheist and subscribe to substance dualism at the same time?

Its a matter of definitions. Whether it is possible to be an atheist and not be a materialist/physicalist depends on how you define atheist and materialist. Generally speaking, they are different ...
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4 votes

How materialism can be consistent in the context of qualia and simplicity?

There's no inconsistency between the reality of qualia and materialism unless one has an excessively reductive conception of "the physical" -- using things like Locke's inverted spectrum and "Is your ...
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4 votes

What (if anything) is wrong with Searle's analogy?"..."

Searle's argument fails because there's nothing specific to consciousness in it. As such, if you replace "possesses consciousness" with "plays chess" then his argument still stands but is patently ...
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  • 1,715
4 votes

Why is the statement about "Freewill is an illusion" considered profound?

When Sam Harris talks of free will being an illusion, he is not referring to the idea that our minds are subject to the laws of physics (either mechanistic laws or laws involving randomness). He is ...
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