A Russellian Response to the Structural Argument Against Physicalism

Journal of Consciousness Studies, 17, No. 3–4, 2010, pp. 70–83

Draft of A Russellian Response to the Structural Argument Against Physicalism

Abstract. According to David Chalmers (2002), ‘we have good reason to suppose that consciousness has a fundamental place in nature’ (p. 135). This, he thinks is because the world as revealed to us by fundamental physics is entirely structural — it is a world not of things, but of relations — yet relations can only account for more relations, and consciousness is not merely a relation (pp. 120–21). Call this the ‘structural argument against physicalism.’I shall argue that there is a view about the relationship between mind and body, what I call, ‘Russellian physicalism’ that is consistent with the premises of the structural argument yet  does not imply that consciousness is fundamental.

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