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How Philosophy of Mind Needs Philosophy of Chemistry

Earley, Joseph (2008) How Philosophy of Mind Needs Philosophy of Chemistry. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    By the 1960s many (perhaps most) philosophers had adopted ‘physicalism’ ─ the view that physical causes fully account for mental activities. However, controversy persists about what count as ‘physical causes’. ‘Reductive’ physicalists recognize only microphysical (elementary-particle-level) causality. Many (perhaps most) physicalists are ‘non-reductive’ ─ they hold that entities considered by other (‘special’) sciences have causal powers. Philosophy of chemistry can help resolve main issues in philosophy of mind in three ways: developing an extended mereology applicable to chemical combination, testing whether ‘singularities’ prevent reduction of chemistry to microphysics, and demonstrating ‘downward causation’ in complex networks of chemical reactions.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Additional Information: Published in Hyle - International Journal for Philosophy of Chemistry, Vol 14 (2008), no 1 1-26
    Keywords: Physicalism, philosophy of chemistry, mind, mereology, structuralism, emergence, realism, downward causation.
    Subjects: General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
    Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
    Specific Sciences > Chemistry
    Depositing User: Dr. Joseph E. Earley
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2009
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:17
    Item ID: 4414
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/4414

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