Physicalism, the thesis that everything is physical, is one of the most controversial problems in philosophy. Its adherents argue that there is no more important doctrine in philosophy, whilst its opponents claim that its role is greatly exaggerated. In this superb introduction to the problem Daniel Stoljar focuses on three fundamental questions: the interpretation, truth and philosophical significance of physicalism. In answering these questions he covers the following key topics:
- a brief history of physicalism and its definitions
- what a physical property is and how physicalism meets challenges from empirical sciences
- ‘Hempel’s dilemma’ and the relationship between physicalism and physics
- physicalism and key debates in metaphysics and philosophy of mind, such as supervenience, identity and conceivability
- physicalism and causality.
Additional features include chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary of technical terms, making Physicalism ideal for those coming to the problem for the first time.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. The Standard Picture 2. Form and Alternatives 3. The Starting Point View 4. The Theory View 5. Hempel’s Dilemma 6. The Necessity View 7. Is Necessitation Necessary? 8. Is Necessitation Sufficient? 9. Skeptics and True Believers 10. Arguments Against Physicalism 11. Arguments for Physicalism Conclusion. Glossary. Notes. Bibliography. Index
'The book is accessible to the advanced undergraduate and covers all the basic lines of thought surrounding materialism. But it also contains controversial theses (there is no physicalism, Hempel's dilemma is a mistake) that will grab the attention of and demand replies from the most advanced researchers. It's all done in crystal clear modus ponens style. Physicalism gives us everything for which we could reasonably ask, and more.' - Australasian Journal of Philosophy
'Physicalism should serve not just to stimulate debate but to help clarify what questions are most pressing when it comes to physicalism, and this is on its own a most welcome contribution.' - Metascience
'An elegant and insightful introduction to one of the most puzzling dogmas of contemporary metaphysics - much needed and highly recommended.' - Huw Price, University of Sydney, Australia