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What is Russellian Monism?

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Russellian monism offers a distinctive perspective on the relationship between the physical and the phenomenal. For example, on one version of the view, phenomenal properties are the categorical bases of fundamental physical properties, such as mass and charge, which are dispositional. Russellian monism has prominent supporters, such as Bertrand Russell, Grover Maxwell, Michael Lockwood, and David Chalmers. But its strengths and shortcomings are often misunderstood. In this paper we try to eliminate confusions about the view and defend it from criticisms. We present its core and distinguish different versions of it. We then compare these versions with traditional theories, such as physicalism, dualism, and idealism. We also argue that the knowledge argument and the conceivability argument are consistent with Russellian monism and that existing arguments against the view, such as the argument from weirdness, are not decisive. We conclude that Russellian monism is an attractive view that deserves serious consideration.

Document Type: Research Article

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Publication date: January 1, 2012

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