The Conceptual Link from Physical to Mental

Hardcover | February 12, 2013

byRobert Kirk

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How are truths about physical and mental states related? Physicalism has traditionally entailed that non-physical truths are redescriptions of a world specifiable in narrowly physical terms. In The Conceptual Link from Physical to Mental Robert Kirk argues that physicalists must therefore holdthat the physical truth 'logico-conceptually' entails the mental truth: it is impossible for broadly logical and conceptual reasons that the former should have held without the latter.'Redescriptive physicalism' is a fresh approach to the physical-to-mental connection that he bases on these ideas. Contrary to what might have been expected, this connection does not depend on analytic truths: there are holistic but non-analytic conceptual links, explicable by means of functionalism- which, he argues, physicalism entails. Redescriptive physicalism should not be confused with 'a priori physicalism': although physicalists must maintain that phenomenal truths are logico-conceptually entailed by physical truths, they must deny that they are also entailed a priori. Kripke-inspired'a posteriori physicalism', on the other hand, is too weak for physicalism, and the psycho-physical identity thesis is not sufficient for it. Though non-reductive, redescriptive physicalism is an excellent basis for dealing with the problems that mental causation raises for other non-reductive views. 'Cartesian intuitions' of zombies and transposed qualia may seem to raise irresistible objections; Kirk shows that the intuitions are false.As to the 'explanatory gap', there is certainly an epistemic gap, but it has a physicalistically acceptable explanation which deals effectively with the problem of how the physical and functional facts fix particular phenomenal facts.

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How are truths about physical and mental states related? Physicalism has traditionally entailed that non-physical truths are redescriptions of a world specifiable in narrowly physical terms. In The Conceptual Link from Physical to Mental Robert Kirk argues that physicalists must therefore holdthat the physical truth 'logico-conceptuall...

Robert Kirk is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Nottingham. His other books are Translation Determined (OUP, 1986), Raw Feeling (OUP, 1994), Relativism and Reality (Routledge, 1999), Mind and Body (Acumen, 2003), and Zombies and Consciousness (OUP, 2005).

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:208 pagesPublished:February 12, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199669414

ISBN - 13:9780199669417

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Redescription and logico-conceptual entailment3. Logico-conceptual entailment and other notions4. Supervenience5. Psycho-physical identity and functionalism6. A posteriori physicalism - but not as we know it7. A priori versus redescriptive physicalism8. Redescription, reduction, and mental causation9. Phenomenal truths are entailed logico-conceptually, but not a priori10. Against the intuitions - and why it's like thisBibliographyIndex