Advertisement

Erkenntnis

, Volume 81, Issue 4, pp 881–898 | Cite as

Fundamentality and the Mind-Body Problem

  • Philip Goff
Original Article

Abstract

In the recent metaphysics literature, a number of philosophers have independently endeavoured to marry sparse ontology to abundant truth. The aim is to keep ontological commitments minimal, whilst allowing true sentences to quantify over a vastly greater range of entities than those which they are ontologically committed to. For example, an ontological commitment only to concrete, microscopic simples might be conjoined with a commitment to truths such as ‘There are twenty people working in this building’ and ‘There are prime numbers greater than 5.’ I argue that a significant challenge to this project comes from the philosophy of mind. As Theodore Sider has pointed out, anti-physicalism is consistent with a sparse ontology. However, I will try to show that the premises of the standard anti-physicalist arguments can be used to form an argument to the conclusion that sentences which quantify over subjects of experience ontologically commit us to subjects of experience. Truths about consciousness cannot be bought more cheaply than their superficial grammar suggests.

Keywords

Ontological Commitment Phenomenal Property Phenomenal Concept Primary Intension Semantic Correctness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Alter, T., & Nagasawa, N. (Eds.). (2015). Consciousness and the physical world: Essays on Russellian monism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Balog, K. (2012). Acquaintance and the mind–body problem. In C. Hill & S. Gozzano (Eds.), New perspectives on type identity: The mental and the physical. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bealer, G. (1994). Mental properties. Journal of Philosophy, 91, 185–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bealer, G. (2002). Modal epistemology and the rationalist renaissance. In T. Gendler & J. Hawthorne (Eds.), Conceivability and possibility. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Cameron, R. (2008). Truthmakers and ontological commitment. Philosophical Studies, 140, 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cameron, R. (2010). Quantification, naturalness, and ontology. In A. Hazlett (Ed.), New waves in metaphysics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  7. Carruthers, P. (2004). Phenomenal concepts and higher-order experiences. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 68(2), 316–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chalmers, D. J. (1996). The conscious mind: Towards a fundamental theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Chalmers, D. J. (2002). Philosophy of mind: Classical and contemporary readings. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Chalmers, D. J. (2009). ‘The two-dimensional argument against materialism. In B. McLaughlin (Ed.), Oxford handbook of the philosophy of mind (pp. 313–339). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Chalmers, D. J. (2012). Constructing the world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Chalmers, D. J. (2015). Panpsychism and panprotopsychism. In T. Alter & Y. Nagasawa (Eds.), Consciousness and the physical world: Essays on Russellian monism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Diaz-Elson, E. (2014). Do a posteriori physicalists get our phenomenal concepts wrong? Ratio, 27(1), 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Eddington, A. (1928). The nature of the physical world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Fine, K. (2001). The question of realism. Philosophical Imprint, 1(2), 1–30.Google Scholar
  16. Goff, P. (2011). A posteriori physicalist get our phenomenal concepts wrong. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 89(2), 191–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Goff, P. (2015a). Against constitutive Russellian monism. In T. Alter & Y. Nagasawa (Eds.), Consciousness and the physical world: Essays on Russellian monism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Goff, P. (2015b). Real acquaintance and physicalism. In P. Coates & S. Coleman (Eds.), Phenomenal qualities: Sense, perception and consciousness. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Goff, P. (MS). Consciousness and fundamental reality. http://www.philipgoffphilosophy.com/.
  20. Goff, P., & Papineau, D. (2014). What’s wrong with strong necessities?. Philosophical Studies, 3(167), 749–762.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Horgan, T., & Potrč, M. (2008). Austere realism: Conceptual semantics meets minimal ontology. Cambridge: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jackson, F. (1982). Epiphenomenal qualia. Philosophical Quarterly, 32(127), 127–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jackson, F. (1986). What Mary didn’t know. Journal of Philosophy, 83(5), 291–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Levine, J. (1983). Materialism and qualia: The explanatory gap. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 64(2), 281–298.Google Scholar
  25. Levine, J. (2014). Modality, semantics and consciousness. Philosophical Studies, 167(3): 775–784.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Loar, B. (1990/1997). Phenomenal states. In J. Tomberlin (Ed.), Philosophical perspectives 4: Action theory and philosophy of mind (pp. 81–108). Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview. (Reprinted from The nature of consciousness: Philosophical debates, pp. 597–616, by N. Block, O. Flanagan & Guüven Guüzeldere, Eds., Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.).Google Scholar
  27. Loar, B. (2003). Qualia, properties, modality. Philosophical Issues, 13(1), 113–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lycan, W. G. (1996). Consciousness and experience. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  29. Ney, A. (2008). Defining physicalism. Philosophy Compass, 3(5), 1033–1048.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Nida-Rümelin, M. (2007). Grasping phenomenal properties. In T. Alter & S. Walter (Eds.), Phenomenal concepts and phenomenal knowledge (pp. 207–236). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Papineau, D. (1993). Philosophical Naturalism. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  32. Pereboom, D. (2011). Consciousness and the prospects of physicalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Perry, H. (2001). Knowledge, possibility and consciousness. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  34. Russell, B. (1927). The analysis of matter. London: Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  35. Schroer, R. (2010). ‘What’s the beef? Phenomenal concepts as both demonstrative and substantial. The Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 88, 505–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sider, T. (2009). Ontological realism. In D. Chalmers, D. Manley, & R. Wasserman (Eds.), Metametaphysics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Sider, T. (2012a). Writing the book of the world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Sider, T. (2012b). Against parthood. In K. Bennett & D. W. Zimmerman (Eds.), Oxford study in metaphysics (Vol. 8). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Sider, T. (2013). Reply to Jonathan Schaffer, in Symposia on writing the book of the world. Analysis, 73(4), 751–770.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Strawson, G. (2006). Realistic monism: Why physicalism entails panpsychism. In A. Freeman (Ed.), Consciousness and its place in nature. UK: Imprint Academic.Google Scholar
  41. Tye, M. (1995). Ten problems of consciousness: A representational theory of the phenomenal mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  42. Tye, M. (2000). Consciousness, color, and content. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  43. Veillet, B. (2015). The cognitive significance of phenomenal knowledge. Philosophical Studies, 172(11), 2955–2974.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Williams, J. R. G. (2010). Fundamental and derivative truths. Mind, 119, 103–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyCentral European UniversityBudapestHungary

Personalised recommendations