Central-State Materialism

  • Keith Campbell
Part of the Problems of Philosophy book series (PRPH)


Some terms get their meaning by reference to the effects produced by what the terms denote. Take “poison”, for example. No one understands what a poison is if he doesn’t understand that drinking it is not a good idea. It is in terms of its deleterious effects upon human or animal health that we express what “poison” means. There is a conceptual connection between poisons and ill-health. Yet talk about poisons is not just talk about ill-health. It is talk about substances which can play a causal role in ill-health. A poisonous substance will, if swallowed in large enough doses, without any inhibitor, by a person who takes neither a neutralizer nor an emetic, and provided his metabolism is typical, adversely affect his health.


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© Keith Campbell 1970

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  • Keith Campbell

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