Chapter

Demystifying the Physical

Peter Unger

in All the Power in the World

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195155617
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850563 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195155617.003.0003
Demystifying the Physical

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When we communicate with each other, we interact with an external reality, quite distinct from each other. Nowadays, we take it that this possibly mysterious external reality, through which we communicate, is physical reality. But, what can any of this really amount to? In presenting the Mystery of the Physical, this book presented, in two Formulations, a doctrine concerning the denial of quality. According to the denial of qualities (second formulation), all the world's matter lacks (spatially extensible) qualities, even as a lot lacks anything even easily confused with (such) qualities, however well matter may fare with the other two sorts of basic properties for physical things, the spatial and the propensities. This chapter discusses the concepts of spatially extensible qualities, intelligible physical reality and a principle of constrained contingency, mutually isolated concrete worlds and distinct eons of the actual world, whether the recognized physical properties might be considered spatially extensible qualities, the identity theory of qualities and dispositions, an antinomy of spatially extensible quality, and the philosophy of David Hume and David Lewis.

Keywords: David Hume; David Lewis; physical reality; denial of qualities; dispositions; spatially extensible qualities; identity theory; philosophy; concrete worlds

Chapter.  32621 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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