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PHYSICALISM, SUPERVENIENCE AND THE FUNDAMENTAL LEVEL

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Abstract:

Abstract

We provide a formulation of physicalism, and show that this is to be favoured over alternative formulations. Much of the literature on physicalism assumes without argument that there is a fundamental level to reality, and we show that a consideration of the levels problem and its implications for physicalism tells in favour of the form of physicalism proposed here. Its key elements are, first, that the empirical and substantive part of physicalism amounts to a prediction that physics will not posit new entities solely for the purpose of accounting for mental phenomena, nor new entities with essentially mental characteristics such as propositional attitudes or intentions; secondly, that physicalism can safely make do with no more than a weak global formulation of supervenience.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9213.2008.613.x

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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