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How physicalists can - and cannot - explain the seeming "absurdity" of physicalism
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
2017 (English)In: Philosophy and phenomenological research, ISSN 0031-8205, E-ISSN 1933-1592Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

According to a widely held physicalist view, consciousness is identical with some physical or functional phenomenon just as liquidity is identical with loose molecular connection. To many of us, this claim about consciousness seems more problematic than the claim about liquidity. To many—including many physicalists—the identification of consciousness with some physical phenomenon even seems "absurd" (Papineau 2002) or "crazy" (Perry 2001). A full defence of physicalism should explain why the allegedly correct hypothesis comes across this way. If physicalism is true and we have reason to accept it, why does it seem "absurd"? One possibility is that this is fully explained by the fact that we have an erroneous understanding of consciousness or its physical basis. This explanation is embraced by few if any physicalists. It is rejected by many, including proponents of the "phenomenal concept strategy", which lately has become the dominant strategy for defending physicalism. But the "error explanation" is clearly the most plausible explanation that is available to physicalists. So this paper argues.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
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Philosophy
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URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-133599DOI: 10.1111/phpr.12394OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-133599DiVA: diva2:1088642
Available from: 2017-04-13 Created: 2017-04-13 Last updated: 2017-11-28

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