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The Waning of Materialism$
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Robert C. Koons and George Bealer

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199556182

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199556182.001.0001

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Against Materialism

Against Materialism

(p.3) 1 Against Materialism
The Waning of Materialism

Laurence BonJour (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that there are no compelling arguments in favor of, and very powerful, seemingly unanswerable objections to, materialism in the philosophy of mind. The arguments for materialism that appeal to (a) the ‘principle’ of causal closure and (b) the doctrine of naturalism are argued to rest entirely on undefended assumptions. The central objection that materialist views fail to offer any account of conscious states that explains their experienced character is then developed with reference to both the familiar problem of qualitative content (using Frank Jackson's example of Mary, the color-experience-deprived neurophysiologist) and the problem of conscious intentional content. It is argued that none of the available responses to the Mary example are successful; and further that an entirely parallel argument can be made about conscious intentional content. The negative conclusion is that materialist views are false, but that no positive account of conscious content is presently available.

Keywords:   qualitative content, Frank Jackson, philosophy of mind, conscious intentional content, materialism

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