Through Thick and Thin with Ned Block: How Not to Rebut the Property Dualism Argument

O’Sullivan, Brendan
December 2008
Philosophia;Dec2008, Vol. 36 Issue 4, p531
Academic Journal
In “Max Black’s Objection to Mind–Body Identity,” Ned Block seeks to offer a definitive treatment of property dualism arguments that exploit modes of presentation. I will argue that Block’s central response to property dualism is confused. The property dualist can happily grant that mental modes of presentation have a hidden physical nature. What matters for the property dualist is not the hidden physical side of the property, but the apparent mental side. Once that ‘thin’ side is granted, the property dualist has won. I conclude that although Block is wrong to think that the property dualist must argue for so-called thin mental properties, Block, and the physicalist, are able to resist property dualism. But any attempt to bolster this resistance and do more than dogmatically assert the crucial identity runs a serious risk of undermining the physicalism it is meant to save.


Related Articles

  • PHYSICALISM, SUPERVENIENCE AND THE FUNDAMENTAL LEVEL. Brown, Robin; Ladyman, James // Philosophical Quarterly;Jan2009, Vol. 59 Issue 234, p20 

    We provide a formulation of physicalism, and show that this is to be favoured over alternative formulations. Much of the literature on physicalism assumes without argument that there is a fundamental level to reality, and we show that a consideration of the levels problem and its implications...

  • Materialism, Dualism, and the Philosophy of Yoga. Larson, Gerald // International Journal of Hindu Studies;Aug2013, Vol. 17 Issue 2, p181 

    The article discusses the mind-body problem with materialism and dualism based in the classical Yoga philosophy of India. Topics addressed include the manner in which physical states vary from mental states, the manner in which physical states relate with mental states, and the manner in which...

  • THE CONCEIVABILITY ARGUMENT AND THE INTUITION OF DUALISM. Polcyn, Karol // Diametros: An Online Journal of Philosophy;Jun2010, Issue 24, p90 

    Information on the author's opinion on conceivability argument and the intuition of dualism is discussed. The author argues that David Papineau's assumption that individuals are all in the grip of the intuition of dualism strengthens physicalism further by leading to the refutation of the...

  • Undefeated dualism. Bogardus, Tomas // Philosophical Studies;Sep2013, Vol. 165 Issue 2, p445 

    In the standard thought experiments, dualism strikes many philosophers as true, including many non-dualists. This 'striking' generates prima facie justification: in the absence of defeaters, we ought to believe that things are as they seem to be, i.e. we ought to be dualists. In this paper, I...

  • Some Convergences and Divergences in the Realism of Charles Peirce and Ayn Rand. Champagne, Marc // Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (Journal of Ayn Rand Studies Foundat;Fall2006, Vol. 8 Issue 1, p19 

    Structured around Charles S. Peirce's three-fold categorical scheme, this articleproposes a comparative study of Ayn Rand and Peirce's realist views in general metaphysics. Rand's stance is seen as diverging with Peirce's argument from asymptotic representation but converging with arguments from...

  • Beyond Physicalism and Dualism? Putnam's Pragmatic Pluralism and the Philosophy of Mind. Ludwig, David; Calcaterra, Rosa M.; Frega, Roberto; Maddalena, Giovanni // European Journal of Pragmatism & American Philosophy;2011, Vol. 3 Issue 2, p245 

    Although Hilary Putnam has played a significant role in shaping contemporary philosophy of mind, he has more recently criticised its metaphysical foundations as fundamentally flawed. According to Putnam, the standard positions in the philosophy of mind rest on dubious ontological assumptions...

  • double aspect theory of mind Philosophy/Psychology.  // Dictionary of Theories;2002, p158 

    A definition of the term "double aspect theory of mind" is presented. It states that mind and body or mental events and some cerebral events are two aspects of a single thing. The theory resembles Neutral Monism. When the body becomes privileged and usurps the function of the single underlying...

  • Why property dualists must reject substance physicalism. Schneider, Susan // Philosophical Studies;Jan2012, Vol. 157 Issue 1, p61 

    I argue that property dualists cannot hold that minds are physical substances. The focus of my discussion is a property dualism that takes qualia to be sui generis features of reality.

  • Comments on Sydney Shoemaker’s Physical Realization. Melnyk, Andrew // Philosophical Studies;Mar2010, Vol. 148 Issue 1, p113 

    This paper interprets and criticizes some of the views presented in Sydney Shoemaker’s book, Physical Realization (Oxford University Press, 2007), on the topic of how mental properties are realized by physical properties, given that, on his view, human persons are not even token-identical...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics