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Consciousness and the Prospects of Physicalism$
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Derk Pereboom

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199764037

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199764037.001.0001

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Russellian Monism I

Russellian Monism I

(p.85) 5 Russellian Monism I
Consciousness and the Prospects of Physicalism

Derk Pereboom (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 and 6 explore an unconventional sort of physicalism that explains phenomenal properties, supposing this accuracy claim, by way of fundamentally intrinsic properties of the physical world. This idea has its source in Leibniz, who developed it in an idealist direction. In the context of his conceivability argument, Chalmers develops this theme, but in a less resolutely anti-physicalist way. He envisions the possibility of physical (and also of non-physical) properties of whose nature we are currently ignorant in a significant respect and that have a dual foundational role: they not only ground the properties that current physical theory specifies, but are protophenomenal by virtue of explaining phenomenal properties as well. Because Bertrand Russell advocated a position of this general sort, Chalmers calls his view Russellian Monism. In these chapters I consider the key ideas and arguments in this discussion, with an eye to formulating a more thorough characterization of Russellian monism, and to test the plausibility of this position. In Chapter 5 I begin by setting out a provisional account in terms of unknown categorical bases of dispositions, and then to determine more precisely what it is that we might be ignorant about. I argue that what is actually at issue is ignorance about properties that are intrinsic in a fundamental way. With the aid of Leibniz and Kant, I characterize this claim in terms of the notion of an absolutely intrinsic property, and propose a definition.

Keywords:   Russellian monism, disposition, categorical basis, intrinsic property, absolutely intrinsic property, solidity, physicalism, Leibniz, Kant, Locke

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