Can physicalism stand against the Descartes-Hoff’s lonely ghost argument (and how)?

Authors

Keywords:

mental, physical, zombie, ghost, fundamental, supervenient, constitution, phenomenal property

Abstract

The paper discusses the lonely ghost argument against physicalism, which was advanced by Philip Goff as a reinforced version of Descartes’ famous argument for the distinctness of mind (mental subject, or self) and body. The purported reinforcement consists in making the argument invulnerable to the typical objection that appeals to multiple realisability. Besides, the claim was made by Goff that the lonely ghost argument has several advantages over the far more influential zombie argument. Two physicalist attempts to defuse the argument, by Esa Diaz-Leon and Greg Janzen, are discussed and found unsuccessful. Some alternative ways of possible physicalist defences, which are based on questioning Goff’s success to deal with multiple realisability objection, are proposed and investigated. It is argued that there is considerable difficulty in deflecting the new objections without use of additional arguments which, if sound, would be sufficient to refute physicalism on their own and so make the lonely ghost argument redundant. The conclusion is made that physicalists have considerable resources to deal with the lonely ghost argument, and it is left open whether the lonely ghost argument can overpower them.

Author Biography

Dmytro Sepetyi, Zaporizhzhia State Medical University

PhD in philosophical sciences, associate professor at the department of social disciplines. Academic interests: philosophy of mind, epistemology, political philosophy.

References

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Published

2017-11-24

How to Cite

Sepetyi, D. (2017). Can physicalism stand against the Descartes-Hoff’s lonely ghost argument (and how)?. Filosofska Dumka, (3), 78–93. Retrieved from https://dumka.philosophy.ua/index.php/fd/article/view/284

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