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Why 'Non-Mental' Won't Work: On Hempel's Dilemma and the Characterization of the 'Physical'

Neal Judisch
Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition
Vol. 140, No. 3 (Sep., 2008), pp. 299-318
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27734300
Page Count: 20
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Why 'Non-Mental' Won't Work: On Hempel's Dilemma and the Characterization of the 'Physical'
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Abstract

Recent discussions of physicalism have focused on the question how the physical ought to be characterized. Many have argued that any characterization of the physical should include the stipulation that the physical is non-mental, and others have claimed that a systematic substitution of 'non-mental' for 'physical' is all that is needed for philosophical purposes. I argue here that both claims are incorrect: substituting 'non-mental' for 'physical' in the causal argument for physicalism does not deliver the physicalist conclusion, and the specification that the physical is non-mental is irrelevant to the task of formulating physicalism as a substantive, controversial thesis.

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