Ideas from 'There is no question of physicalism' by DH Mellor / T Crane [1990], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Mind vol.XCIX 1990' (ed/tr Blackburn,Simon) [OUP 1990,]].

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7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 5. Physicalism
Some suggest that materialism is empty, because 'physical' cannot be properly characterized
                        Full Idea: It is sometimes contended that the whole idea of materialism is somehow empty, on the grounds that there is no proper way to characterize the 'physical' realm.
                        From: report of DH Mellor / T Crane (There is no question of physicalism [1990]) by David Papineau - Thinking about Consciousness 1.1
                        A reaction: [Papineau also cites Gabriel Segal] I agree with Papineau in rejecting this. Uncertainties about quantum states do not pose a problem, and the position tends to have an implicit dualism buried in it somewhere.
15. Nature of Minds / A. Nature of Mind / 3. Mental Causation
Causation depends on intrinsic properties
                        Full Idea: The problem thoughts pose for causation is that causation depends directly only on intrinsic properties, whereas the causal powers of token thoughts depend on their contents, which are not intrinsic.
                        From: DH Mellor / T Crane (There is no question of physicalism [1990], p.194)
                        A reaction: This, as we find later in the paper, depends on an externalist account of thoughts. Could a relational property not be causal? Edinburgh's being wetter than London is caused by its being further north?
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 2. Anomalous Monism
There are many psychophysicals laws - about the effects of sweets, colours and soft cushions
                        Full Idea: There are many psychophysical laws, linking sensations to non-mental features of those who have them; the industries of anaesthetics, scents, narcotics, sweeteners, coloured paints, loudspeakers and soft cushions depend on them.
                        From: DH Mellor / T Crane (There is no question of physicalism [1990], p.198)
                        A reaction: It may be expressing it a little strongly to call these 'laws', but they are certainly reliable regularities, and they are probably enough to undermine Davidson's claim that such laws don't exist.
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 7. Anti-Physicalism / a. Physicalism critique
No defences of physicalism can deprive psychology of the ontological authority of other sciences
                        Full Idea: Neither laws nor causation nor claims of supervenience (the last refuge of the physicalist) deprive psychology of the ontological authority of non-mental science.
                        From: DH Mellor / T Crane (There is no question of physicalism [1990], p.203)
                        A reaction: There is no need to defend the practice of psychologists (or garden designers) from the depradations of bandit physicalists. But what is the ontology of psychology if it isn't dualist or physicalist?