Consciousness and the Limits of Objectivity: The Case for Subjective Physicalism

ISBN : 9780198776611

Robert J. Howell
208 Pages
138 x 216 mm
Pub date
Feb 2017
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In Consciousness and the Limits of Objectivity Robert J. Howell argues that the options in the debates about consciousness and the mind-body problem are more limited than many philosophers have appreciated. Unless one takes a hard-line stance, which either denies the data provided by consciousness or makes a leap of faith about future discoveries, one must admit that no objective picture of our world can be complete. Howell argues, however, that this is consistent with physicalism, contrary to received wisdom. After developing a novel, neo-Cartesian notion of the physical, followed by a careful consideration of the three major anti-materialist arguments-Black's 'Presentation Problem', Jackson's Knowledge Argument, and Chalmers' Conceivability Argument-Howell proposes a 'subjective physicalism' which gives the data of consciousness their due, while retaining the advantages of a monistic, physical ontology.


Part I: Defining Physicalism
1 The Base Problem
2 Supervenience and the Relation Problem
Part II: The Threat of the Subjective
3 Phenomenal Knowledge and Acquaintance
4 Acquaintance and Objectivity
Part III: Saving Physicalism
5 The Ontology of Subjective Physicalism
6 Deduction, Necessitation and Acquaintance
7 Assessing Subjective Physicalism

About the author: 

Robert J. Howell received his Ph.D. In philosophy from Brown University in 2002. He is an Associate Professor at Southern Methodist University, and has published numerous articles on the mind-body problem, self-knowledge, and issues in epistemology. He is the co-author, with Torin Alter, of A Dialogue on Consciousness (OUP, 2009) and The God Dialogues (OUP 2011), and has also co-edited Consciousness and the Mind Body Problem: A Reader (OUP, 2011), with Torin Alter.

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