Chapter

What Is a Physical Object?

Colin McGinn

in Basic Structures of Reality

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199841103
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919529 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199841103.003.0003
What Is a Physical Object?

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This chapter analyzes the nature of matter. Physics is about what parts things have, and goes right down to the things that have no further parts, but it does not concern itself with what it is that ultimately composes these things—that is simply left open. According to Eddington and Russell, physics is incomplete precisely on the question of what matter ultimately and intrinsically is. Into this descriptive void they inserted a bold theory—that the intrinsic nature of matter is mental. This is the doctrine of panpsychism, offered as an account of what physics leaves unsaid: the essence of matter is consciousness, and the physical world bottoms out in mind-stuff.

Keywords: objects; matter; panphysicism; consciousness; physics

Chapter.  9419 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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