Hibbert, Ben (2018) Against the physicalist zeitgeist: evaluating the contemporary case for physicalism and the prospect of property dualism. Masters thesis, Keele University.

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Abstract

This thesis employs Chalmers’ (1996) hard problem of consciousness in an attempt to highlight the fundamental issues with the physicalist zeitgeist that has predominated much of contemporary philosophical thought, before championing an alternative metaphysic, predicated upon a form of monistic property dualism, which may hold the potential to solve the mystery of consciousness without falling foul to the issues faced by physicalism. I begin my inquiry with an explication of those physicalist strategies which have attempted to maintain their metaphysic in light of the hard problem, with a particular focus upon Dennett’s (1991) eliminativism, the reductive representationalism held by Dretske (1996) and Tye (2000), and the phenomenal concept strategy established by Loar (1990/9) and Balog (2009/12), before attempting to explicate how all such physicalist strategies are forced to warp our conception of what conscious experience actually is in order to maintain their metaphysic, and contending that, due to the intractable nature of the ontological gap underpinning the hard problem, the contemporary anti-physicalists are right to appeal to a form of ontological dualism that posits consciousness as a fundamental constituent of our reality. From here, I explore the anti-physicalist contentions that have seen the most success in the contemporary literature, and contrast the strengths of substance dualism (Swinburne 1986-2013), panpsychism (Strawson 2006) and a naturalized, or monistic, property dualism (Chalmers 1996), before concluding that, ultimately, both substance dualism and panpsychism contravene upon our understanding of natural laws in such a way that either fractures our evolutionarily constituted worldview (substance dualism), or contradicts our understanding of thermodynamic theory (panpsychism). Thus, I argue, monistic property dualism reveals itself to be the metaphysical framework with the potential to encompass the most explanatorily robust, and metaphysically coherent, solution to the hard problem.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Politics, Philosophy, International Relations and Environment
Contributors: Tartaglia, JPF (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2020 15:20
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2020 15:20
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/8749

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