A defence of the via negativa argument for physicalism

Montero, Barbara; Papineau, David
July 2005
Analysis;Jul2005, Vol. 65 Issue 3, p233
Academic Journal
The article presents information on the via negativa argument for physicalism. The key premiss in the familiar causal argument for physicalism is the Completeness of Physics (CP). Given this premiss and assuming the implausibility of systematic causal overdetermination, it follows that everything that has a physical effect must itself be physical. Defenders of CP face Hempel's Dilemma: if "physical" means what is recognized by current physics, then CP is likely to be false, for historical form suggests that future research will substantially correct the ontology of current physics.


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