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A Russellian Response to the Structural Argument Against Physicalism

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Abstract:

According to David Chalmers (2002), 'we have good reason to suppose that consciousness has a fundamental place in nature' (p. 135). This, he thinks is because the world as revealed to us by fundamental physics is entirely structural -- it is a world not of things, but of relations -- yet relations can only account for more relations, and consciousness is not merely a relation (pp. 120-21). Call this the 'structural argument against physicalism.' I shall argue that there is a view about the relationship between mind and body, what I call, 'Russellian physicalism' that is consistent with the premises of the structural argument yet does not imply that consciousness is fundamental.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Philosophy Program, The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10016, USA., Email: bmontero@gc.cuny.edu

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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