METODO

International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy

Journal | Issue | Article

Real naturalism v2

Galen Strawson

pp. 101-125


[1] The existence of experience, i.e. conscious experience, is a certainly known natural fact. It is the most certainly known general natural fact. The bedrock of any real or genuine naturalism, any remotely realistic naturalism is, accordingly, outright realism about experience. It follows that many current formulations of naturalism are profoundly anti-naturalistic. [2] By ‘realism about experience’ I mean real realism about experience. Briefly, real realists about experience take experience to be what they took it to be before they did any philosophy, e.g. when they were 6 years old. [3] Physicalism is the view that concrete reality is entirely physical in nature. I take physicalism to be part of naturalism, so I take it that experience is entirely physical. [4] Evidently physicalist naturalism rules out anything incompatible with the truths of physics. There is, however, a crucial respect in which physics only gives structural information about the nature of concrete reality, and has nothing to say about the intrinsic nature of the concrete reality in so far as its intrinsic nature is more than its structure. [5] It follows that physicalist naturalism can’t rule out panpsychism or panexperientialism, which is arguably the simplest theory of the nature of reality (there is no evidence for the existence of any non-experiential reality).

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