Tag Archives: Russellian Monism

Russellian Physicalism

Russellian Physicalism, forthcoming  in Russellian Monism, edited by Torin Alter and Yujin Nagasawa:

According to David Chalmers, the conceivability of worlds that duplicate our physics yet lack consciousness refutes physicalism. Or rather, it almost refutes it. This qualification arises because “Russellian monism,” characterized roughly as the view that consciousness is determined by the intrinsic properties of fundamental physical entities, escapes this sort of antiphysicalist conceivability argument. One might think this is good news for the physicalist, but not so Chalmers. Although he takes Russellian monism to be a highly appealing view, he claims that many physicalists will reject it as it “shares the spirit of antimaterialism.”  I think that the loophole in the conceivability argument is more significant than Chalmers has made it out to be, for, as I shall argue, Chalmers fails to take into account a version of Russellian monism, what I refer to as “Russellian physicalism,” that escapes the conceivability argument yet is fully physicalistic.  (→ to Russellian Physicalism)

monism

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.