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Jerry A. Fodor

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199548774

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199548774.001.0001

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The Metaphysics of Reference

(p.196) 7 The Metaphysics of Reference

Jerry A. Fodor (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Only matter has causal powers. The underlying metaphysical intuition is perhaps clear enough to be getting on with: whatever enters into causal interactions is constituted of the sort of stuff that basic physics is about. Call that the ‘physicalist’ thesis (PT). This chapter argues that PT functions as an a priori methodological constraint on scientific practice; ‘a priori’ in the sense that any theory that fails to conform to PT to that extent counts as disconfirmed. This applies to intentional psychology inter alia: only matter can think. It also discusses what philosophers call the ‘naturalization’ of intentional psychology.

Keywords:   metaphysical intuition, physicalist thesis, naturalization, intentional psychology

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