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Neutral Monism Against the Qualiophiles

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This thesis argues for an austere form of monism that incorporates aspects of panpsychism and physicalism, with the aim of putting naturalist epistemology on a secure footing. I criticise panpsychism for failing to live up to its promises of defending what we ordinarily think of as consciousness against physicalism, and criticise the metaphysical presuppositions of its current highprofile proponents. These presuppositions are contrasted with more recent approaches in philosophy of science. The mind-body problem itself endures these assaults, however, and I criticise physicalists who claim their position is the more common-sensical, along with naturalists who think they can avoid metaphysics. Both tendencies are represented by phenomenal concept strategists, whose position comes to seem extreme over the course of two chapters. I then offer my own solution to the mind-body problem. My position seeks a dialectical reconciliation between the possibility of directly experiencing reality, associated with anti-physicalist mysticism, and physical reductionism. I therefore take time to establish both the historical novelty of physicalism, and aspects of continuity which it may share with its predecessors.

Keywords consciousness, panpsychism, physicalism, neutral monism, qualia, reductionism, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, history of ideas


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