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Title:Physical causes and rational belief: A problem for materialism?
Author(s):Reppert, Victor Eugene
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Chandler, Hugh S.; McKim, Robert
Department / Program:Philosophy
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:This dissertation is an examination of the merits of an argument that naturalism is self-stultifying because it is incompatible with the possibility of rational inference. Since naturalists are committed not only to the view that nothing exists but nature, but are also to the truthfulness of the natural sciences, such an incompatibility, if shown to exist, would be very damaging. This argument has been put forward by various persons in this century; two versions in C. S. Lewis are my primary paradigms for the argument in question.
After a brief introduction, I begin in chapter 2 to discuss some objections put to Lewis's version of the argument (as it appears in chapter 3 of Miracles) by Elizabeth Anscombe. I contend that Anscombe's objections, while effective against the first edition argument, fail to refute Lewis's revised argument in a later edition of Miracles.
In chapter 3 I begin treating Lewis's argument in the context of contemporary physicalism. In this chapter I discuss supervenient causation as a way of accounting for causation involving propositional attitudes. I conclude that no version of physicalism that fails to affirm the strong (as opposed to nomic, weak or global) supervenience of propositional attitudes upon physical states can escape the charge of self-refutation.
In chapter 4 I discuss three arguments against the compatibility of physicalism with rational inference, and contend that the kind of compatibility claim the physicalist needs to escape self-refutation is fraught with difficulties.
In chapter 5 I contend that eliminative materialism is, despite the contentions of Paul Churchland and Daniel Dennett to the contrary, clearly self-refuting. I conclude with some discussion of implications for the debate in philosophy of religion and the philosophy of mind.
Issue Date:1989
Rights Information:Copyright 1989 Reppert, Victor Eugene
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9010997
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9010997

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