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A Properly Physical Russellian Physicalism

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Russellian physicalism has the promise of answering all the typical challenges that non-physicalists have issued against standard versions of physicalism, while not giving up physicalism's commitment to the non-existence of fundamental mentality. However, it has been argued that Russellian physicalism must endorse the existence of physically unacceptable protomental properties in order to address these challenges, which would mean giving up on a core physicalist tenet of keeping the fundamental realm untainted by a special relationship to mentality. Against this, I argue that a plausible version of Russellian physicalism can be constructed, which does not posit fundamental properties that are at all protomental in any problematic sense, yet which can explain the existence of subjective experience. This non-protomental Russellian physicalism, which is the only properly-physical version of Russellian physicalism, offers a satisfying solution to the mind-body problem -- including an answer to the conceivability argument -- without sacrificing any of its physicalist credentials.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: CUNY Graduate Center, New York, NY 10016, USA., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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