PHIL 100_Physicalism.docx

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PHIL 100
Peter Graham

PHIL 100B Physicalism Questions:  What is the nature of mind?  How does the mind relate to the body and the rest of the physical world?  What is consciousness and how can it be explained, if at all? Recall Descartes: (1) Descartes thought he was identical to his mind. (2) Descartes thought that his mind was not a physical thing. o He contended that he could exist without his body or any other bodies at all. Descartes was a dualist. A dualist is someone who thinks there are such things as physical and non- physical substances. What does it mean to say that there are completely non-physical mental substances?  It means that mental substances have none (or almost none) of the properties that physical objects have.  Mental substances aren’t located in space  Mental substances don’t have shapes  Mental substance don’t have mass, charge, spin, velocity, momentum, etc. Most people who are not dualists are monists. A monist is someone who thinks that the only kinds of substances there are either only physical or only non-physical substances. Monists who think that the only kinds of things in the world are mental things are idealists. Monists who think that the only kinds of things in the world are physical things are physicalist (also known as materialist). Armstrong’s Argument For Physicalism 1. Science can explain all of the phenomena in the world. 2. If science can explain all of the phenomena in the world, then physicalism is true. 3. Therefore, physicalism is true. Justification for premise 1: - Armstrong believes science is truthful because science alone among religion, philosophy, art and other disciplines has actually seemed to reach an intellectual consensus about controversial matter. (settle controversies, scientific method). Justification for premise 2: -Science only studies physical things interact
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