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Q_the_Enchanter comments on Zombies: The Movie - Less Wrong

72 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 20 April 2008 05:53AM

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Comment author: Q_the_Enchanter 20 April 2008 04:29:10PM 0 points [-]

"[Physicalism] is just yet another metaphysical position."

I don't think that's correct. Scientists presuppose naturalism when they study a phenomenon. For historical reasons, a special word has been coined for the standard presupposition when it is applied in the context of consciousness. That word is 'physicalism.' In this sense, physicalism is merely a sound methodological induction (as is the subsidiary induction that methodological naturalism tells us something about the likely ontological constitution of the world).

Alternatively, 'physicalism' is also the name for a philosophical project that aims to give a formal account of, or justification for, this presupposition (both in its methodological and ontological guises). There are some who insist that this philosophical physicalism somehow must amount to an a priori thesis, but by my lights there isn't any good reason to do so.