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Two Conceptions of the Physical

Daniel Stoljar
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Vol. 62, No. 2 (Mar., 2001), pp. 253-281
DOI: 10.2307/2653699
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2653699
Page Count: 29
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Two Conceptions of the Physical
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Abstract

The debate over physicalism in philosophy of mind can be seen as concerning an inconsistent tetrad of theses: (1) if physicalism is true, a priori physicalism is true; (2) a priori physicalism is false; (3) if physicalism is false, epiphenomenalism is true; (4) epiphenomenalism is false. This paper argues that one may resolve the debate by distinguishing two conceptions of the physical: on the theory-based conception, it is plausible that (2) is true and (3) is false; on the object-based conception, it is plausible that (3) is true and (2) is false. The paper also defends and explores the version of physicalism that results from this strategy.

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