Department of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy

Galen Strawson (University of Reading)

Thu, October 20, 2011 | WAG 316

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM


"Real Naturalism"

Abstract [1] The first principle of genuine naturalism is realism—real realism—with respect to consciousness, conscious experience. This is because experience is the most certainly known natural fact. [2] Real realists about experience take experience to be—in all essential respects—what they took it to be before they did any philosophy (e.g. when 6 years old). [3] Physicalism is the view that concrete reality is entirely physical in nature. I take physicalism to be part of naturalism, so I take it that experience is entirely physical. I also assume that physics contains many truths. [4] What does physicalist naturalism rule out as supernatural or non-natural or unreal? Whatever is incompatible with the truths of physics. [5] But what is incompatible? Physics gives only mathematically expressible structural information about the nature of concrete reality; it has nothing to say when it comes to the question of the intrinsic nature of the concrete reality in so far as its intrinsic nature is more than its structure. [6] So naturalism doesn’t rule out the view that there is no non-structural non-experiential being (it doesn’t e.g. rule out mentalism or panpsychism). [7] It’s arguable that reasons of simplicity, parsimony, and general elegance support the view that there is no non-structural non-experiential being.

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