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PhysicalismThe Philosophical Foundations$
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Jeffrey Poland

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198249801

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198249801.001.0001

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Assessment of the Physicalist Programme

Assessment of the Physicalist Programme

(p.284) 6 Assessment of the Physicalist Programme

Jeffrey Poland

Oxford University Press

This chapter applies the criteria of assessment developed in Chapter 1 to the physicalist doctrine as developed in Chapters 3 to 5. It argues that the theses constitute adequate expressions of physicalist thought, and defends them against a wide range of objections, many of which are premised upon dated or improper formulations of physicalism. Of special importance is the identification of numerous unnecessary monopolistic overtones characteristic of many past formulations of the doctrine. The chapter discusses evidence bearing upon acceptance or rejection of the theses and identifies the principal obstacles to the success of the physicalist programme. What then emerges is a version of physicalism that is stronger than most extant versions, that is arguably defensible in the light of objections, and that does not fly in the face of obviously insurmountable obstacles. It is argued that the physicalist programme is alive and well, though, like any programme concerned with building, rather than decreeing, significant systems of knowledge, it faces many difficult obstacles to its successful completion.

Keywords:   physicalism, physicalist doctrine, physicalist programme, monopolistic overtones

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