Andrew Melnyk

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Andrew Melnyk (born 1962) is an American philosopher, and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Missouri, known for his work in the fields of philosophy of mind, metaphysics, philosophy of science, and metaphilosophy.



A Physicalist Manifesto (2003)

  • Although perhaps disproportionately influential, these egalitarian pluralist antiphysicalists still form only a small minority among contemporary philosophers, and today a huge preponderance of current philosophers of mind happily call themselves physicalists (or materialists), as do many other philosophers. Does this mean that in philosophy the question of physicalism has pretty much been settled – and settled in physicalism’s favor? It does not. For the appearance of a prophysicalist consensus in current philosophy of mind and elsewhere is in truth quite misleading. For one thing, philosophers content to assume physicalism in their detailed contributions to highly specific issues like phenomenal consciousness or intentionality rarely do so, I suspect, with an entirely easy conscience, often admitting quite candidly that they are simply taking physicalism for granted. Indeed, for all I know, they may even share the occasionally voiced suspicion that the widespread commitment to physicalism among science-minded philosophers reflects no more than an exaggerated regard for physics. A second, and more serious charge is that a consensus about physicalismat the level of interesting philosophical detail simply does not exist: how exactly to formulate the physicalism that everyone allegedly espouses, how far this physicalism can and should be nonreductive, what sort of empirical evidence does or even could in principle support it, and how it might overcome the major challenges it apparently faces are questions that, so far from being answered uniformly, are very frequently not answered at all. By confronting the issue of physicalism head on, however, this book will at least provide such questions with clear answers. Naturally I hope that these answers are correct as well as clear; but clarity alone would be ample progress.
    • Introduction