Sep 15, 2015

Our Next Visiting Speaker September 25 - Dr. Melissa Ebbers

Dr. Melissa Embers will be visiting from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Memphis. She will be presenting a talk titled “The Conceptual Approach to the Structure and Dynamics Argument Against A Priori Physicalism” on Friday, September 25 from 1:30-3:30 in McCain Hall, Room 185. Dr. Ebbers' abstract is as follows:

The Structure and Dynamics Argument (SDA) poses an interesting challenge to a priori physicalism, if not to all varieties of physicalism. It argues that physical truths do not a priori entail phenomenal truths because the former are truths about structure and dynamics, the latter are not, and from truths about structure and dynamics only truths about structure and dynamics may be derived. In this paper, I discuss and motivate one formulation of the SDA that I call the conceptual approach, and I illustrate the approach as developed by one of its most prominent defenders, David Chalmers. I argue that some recent challenges to the conceptual approach can be addressed through adopting a particular interpretation of Chalmers’ central notion of scrutability to which, I argue, he is already committed. Unfortunately, this interpretation of scrutability significantly limits the role that primary intensions—otherwise thought to be central to scrutability—play in determining whether one statement is scrutable from another, and suggests that, contrary to Chalmers’ recent work, scrutability is not a priori entailment. I conclude by identifying what I take to be the central challenge for Chalmers’ formulation of the approach: his commitments generate a counterexample to at least one of the premises of the SDA.

We hope to see you there!

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