TITLE

How to be a (sort of) a priori physicalist

AUTHOR(S)
Witmer, D.
PUB. DATE
October 2006
SOURCE
Philosophical Studies;Oct2006, Vol. 131 Issue 1, p185
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
What has come to be known as �a priori physicalism� is the thesis, roughly, that the non-physical truths in the actual world can be deduced a priori from a complete physical description of the actual world. To many contemporary philosophers, a priori physicalism seems extremely implausible. In this paper I distinguish two kinds of a priori physicalism. One sort � strict a priori physicalism � I reject as both unmotivated and implausible. The other sort � liberal a priori physicalism � I argue is both motivated and plausible. This variety of a priori physicalism insists that the necessitation of non-physical truths by the physical facts must be underwritten in a certain fashion by a priori knowledge, but the a priori knowledge need not amount to a simple deduction of the non-physical truths from a complete physical description of the world. Further, this sort of liberal a priori physicalism has the advantage that it offers hope for a genuinely satisfying account of how the physical facts manage to necessitate the facts about phenomenal consciousness � thereby in effect solving the �hard problem� of consciousness. The first half of the paper sets out the motivation for liberal a priori physicalism and its superiority to the strict version; the second half presents one strategy available to the liberal a priori physicalist for showing how consciousness can be accommodated in a purely physical world.
ACCESSION #
22530401

 

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