Thursday, November 29, 2012

Alter and Nagasawa's Explication and (Partial) Defense of Russellian Monism

As longtime readers of this blog know, I'm sympathetic to Russellian monism. Torin Alter and Yujin Nagasawa provide a clear explication and partial defense of the view in "What is Russellian Monism?", Journal of Consciousness Studies 19, pp. 67-95.  Here's the abstract:


Russellian monism offers a distinctive perspective on the relationship 
between the physical and the phenomenal. For example, on one version of the view, 
phenomenal properties are the categorical bases of fundamental physical properties, 
such as mass and charge, which are dispositional. Russellian monism has prominent 
supporters, such as Bertrand Russell, Grover Maxwell, Michael Lockwood, and David 
Chalmers. But its strengths and shortcomings are often misunderstood. In this paper 
we try to eliminate confusions about the view and defend it from criticisms. We 
present its core and distinguish different versions of it. We then compare these 
versions with traditional theories, such as physicalism, dualism, and idealism. We also 
argue that the knowledge argument and the conceivability argument are consistent 
with Russellian monism and that existing arguments against the view, such as the 
argument from weirdness, are not decisive. We conclude that Russellian monism is an 
attractive view that deserves serious consideration.

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