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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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You are Simple

You are Simple

(p.161) 7 You are Simple
The Waning of Materialism

David Barnett

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that unlike your brain, you are not composed of other things: you are simple. The argument centers on what he takes to be an uncontroversial datum: for any pair of conscious beings, it is impossible for the pair itself to be conscious. Consider for instance the pair comprising you and me. You might pinch your arm and feel a pain. I might simultaneously pinch my arm and feel a qualitatively identical pain. But the pair we form would not feel a thing. For pairs of people are themselves incapable of experience. What explains this datum? The following exhaust the reasonable options: (1) Pairs of people lack a sufficient number of immediate parts. (2) Pairs of people lack immediate parts of the right nature. (3) Pairs of people lack immediate parts capable of standing in the right sorts of relations to each other and their environment. (4) Pairs of people have no essential structure (they are mere collections of their two immediate parts). Finally, (5) pairs of people have proper parts. The chapter defends (5). The defense rests in part on an argument that no combination of (1)-(4) can explain the datum.

Keywords:   experience, immediate parts, consciousness, proper parts

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