Jeffrey Poland

Published in print January 1994 | ISBN: 9780198249801
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191681202 | DOI:

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Physicalism is a programme for building a unified system of knowledge based on the view that everything is a manifestation of the physical aspects of existence. This book presents an exploration of the philosophical foundations of this programme. It investigates the core ideas, motivating values, and presuppositions of physicalism; the constraints upon an adequate formulation of physicalist doctrine; and the epistemological and modal status, the scope, and the methodological roles of physicalist principles. The book reviews and evaluates major objections to the programme, and considers its significance for philosophy, science, society, and individual persons. An important theme of the book is that recent attempts to formulate a ‘non-reductive’ version of physicalism are inadequate and that the role of supervenience relations in expressions of physicalist thought is significantly limited. The book also examines the relations between physicalism and other philosophical positions, such as realism, empiricism, and relativism, and suggests that physicalism is compatible with a tolerant pluralism in the philosophical, cultural, and personal domains.

Keywords: unified system of knowledge; existence; physicalist doctrine; physicalist principles; non-reductive; realism; empiricism; relativism

Book.  392 pages. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Physicalism


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