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David Chalmers on Materialism - Dictionary of Arguments

Stalnaker I 242
Definition Type-A-materialism/Chalmers/Stalnaker: (Chalmers 1996, 165-6) thesis: consciousness as far as it exists, logically supervenes on the physical for functionalist or eliminativistic reasons - Definition type-B materialism: thesis: consciousness does not logically supervene on the physical, so there is no a priori implication from the physical to the phenomenal - yet materialism is claimed.
Chalmers I XIII
Materialism/Chalmers: to account for consciousness, we have to go beyond the resources it provides.
Chalmers I 41
Definition Materialism/Physicalism/Chalmers: the thesis that all positive facts about the world supervene globally logically on physical facts. (> Supervenience/Chalmers).
I 42
Materialism is true when all the positive facts about the world are entailed by the physical facts. (See also Chalmers I 364). That is, if for every logically possible world W, which is physically indistinguishable from our world, all positive facts which are true of our world are also true of world W.
This corresponds to Jackson's physicalism:
Definition Physicalism/Jackson: (Jackson 1994): Criterion: every minimal physical duplicate of our actual world is simply a duplicate of our world (See also Chalmers I 364).
I 123
Materialism/ChalmersVsMaterialism: if my assumptions about conscious experience (phenomenal consciousness) are correct, materialism must be wrong:
1. There are conscious experiences in our world
2. There is a logically possible world that is physically identical to our actual world in which the positive facts about consciousness are not valid in our world.
3. Therefore, facts about consciousness are additional facts, beyond the physical facts.
4. Therefore, materialism is wrong.
I 124
The same conclusion can be drawn from the logical possibility of worlds with interchanged conscious experiences.
So when God created the world, after securing the physical facts, he had more to do, than Kripke says: he had to make that the facts about consciousness remain.
The failure of this kind of materialism leads to a kind of dualism.
I 139
MaterialismVsChalmers: could argue that the unimaginability of certain worlds (see above) is only due to our cognitive limitations. Then the corresponding world would not even be logically possible! (This would be a possible interpretation of McGinn 1989 (1).)
Analogy: one might suppose that the decision e.g. about the continuum hypothesis or its negation is beyond our cognitive abilities.
ChalmersVsVs: this analogy does not work in the case of our understanding of modalities (modes of necessity and possibility).
E.g. it is also not the case that a smarter version of the color researcher Mary would know better how it is to see a color.
I 144
Materialism/Chalmers: Chalmers would simply deny that Mary makes any discoveries at all. This is the strategy of Lewis (1990)(2) and Nemirov (1990)(3): Mary only acquires an additional ability (to recognize), but no knowledge.
ChalmersVsNemirow/ChalmersVsLewis: Although there are no internal problems with this strategy, it is implausible.
I 145
Mary really learns new facts about the nature of the experience. She has reduced the space of epistemic possibilities.
Omniscience/Chalmers: for an omniscient being, there is no such narrowing of possibilities.
Loar: (1990)(4) he derives from this new knowledge of Mary conditionals: "If seeing red things is like this, and seeing blue things is like this, then seeing violet things is probably like this."
DennettVsJackson: (Dennett 1991)(5) Mary does not learn anything at all. She could not be deceived, e.g. by experimenters holding a blue apple instead of a red one in front of her. She has already learned the necessary from the reactions of others in her environment.
ChalmersVsDennett: but this does not show that she had the decisive (phenomenal) knowledge.

1. C. McGinn, Can we solve the mind-body problem? Mind 98, 1989: pp.349-66
2. D. Lewis, What experience teaches. In: W. Lycan (Ed) Mind and Cognition. Oxford 1990
3. L. Nemirow, Physicalism and the cognitive role of acquaintance. In: W. Lycan (Ed) Mind and Cognition. Oxford 1990
4. B. Loar, Phenomenal states. Philosophical Perspectives 4, 1990: pp. 81-108
5. D. Dennett, Consciousness Explained, Boston, 1991

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Cha I
D. Chalmers
The Conscious Mind Oxford New York 1996

Cha II
D. Chalmers
Constructing the World Oxford 2014

Stalnaker I
R. Stalnaker
Ways a World may be Oxford New York 2003

Cha II
D. Chalmers
Constructing the World Oxford 2014

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2022-10-06
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