The Conceptual Link from Physical to Mental

The Conceptual Link from Physical to Mental

by Robert Kirk
     
 


How are truths about physical and mental states related? Physicalism entails that non-physical truths are redescriptions of a world specifiable in narrowly physical terms. In The Conceptual Link from Physical to Mental Robert Kirk argues that physicalists must therefore hold that the physical truth "logico-conceptually" entails the mental truth: it isSee more details below

Overview


How are truths about physical and mental states related? Physicalism entails that non-physical truths are redescriptions of a world specifiable in narrowly physical terms. In The Conceptual Link from Physical to Mental Robert Kirk argues that physicalists must therefore hold that the physical truth "logico-conceptually" entails the mental truth: it is impossible for broadly logical and conceptual reasons that the former should have held without the latter. "Redescriptive physicalism" is a fresh approach to the physical-to-mental connection that he bases on these ideas. Contrary to what might have been expected, this connection does not depend on analytic truths: there are holistic but non-analytic conceptual links, explicable by means of functionalism--which, he argues, physicalism entails. Redescriptive physicalism should not be confused with "a priori physicalism": although physicalists must maintain that phenomenal truths are logico-conceptually entailed by physical truths, they must deny that they are also entailed a priori. Kripke-inspired "a posteriori physicalism," on the other hand, is too weak for physicalism, and the psycho-physical identity thesis is not sufficient for it. Though non-reductive, redescriptive physicalism is an excellent basis for dealing with the problems that mental causation raises for other non-reductive views. "Cartesian intuitions" of zombies and transposed qualia may seem to raise irresistible objections; Kirk shows that the intuitions are false. As to the "explanatory gap," there is certainly an epistemic gap, but it has a physicalistically acceptable explanation which deals effectively with the problem of how the physical and functional facts fix particular phenomenal facts.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is an excellent and important book. It presents a novel and resourceful conception of physicalism, and defends it with admiral rigor."--Phillip Goff, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199669417
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
04/05/2013
Pages:
252
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)

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