Chapter

Zombies and Minimal Physicalism

Robert Kirk

in Zombies and Consciousness

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780199285488
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603150 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199285489.003.0002
 Zombies and Minimal Physicalism

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Epiphenomenalism accepts the causal closure of the physical, hence the possibility of zombies. But it is argued, via consideration of the ‘redescription thesis’, that physicalism involves commitment to the ‘strict implication thesis’, according to which the narrowly physical truths about the world strictly imply the significant mental truths. This is an empirical thesis but depends on logical or conceptual relations, although physicalists are not therefore compelled to subscribe to any strong doctrine of conceptual analysis. It follows that if zombies are even barely possible, physicalism is false. It also follows that bald assertions of psycho-physical identity do not dispense physicalists from commitment to this conclusion, nor does a thesis of a posteriori necessity.

Keywords: a posteriori necessity; conceptual analysis; epiphenomenalism; physicalism; redescription thesis; strict implication thesis; zombies

Chapter.  8426 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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