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PH100 Lecture Notes

A statement is contingently true or a contingent

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A statement is contingently true , (or a contingent truth), if it is true in at least one possible world and false in at least one other possible world. e.g., the speed of light is 299,792,458 m/s A statement is necessarily true (or a necessary truth), if it is true in all possible worlds e.g., “2+2 = 4” Physicalism has modal commitments → it makes certain claims about what is possible and what is necessary Physicalism (another formulation): all facts obtain in virtue of physical facts, i.e., once the physical nature of the world is fixed then everything else follows. If we fix the position and properties of all subatomic particles, then all biological facts (e.g, humans have 2 legs) psychological facts (e.g, I am currently having a certain experience) and social facts (e.g., euthanasia is not legal in Massachusetts) should be fixed as well. Where are the modal commitments? If all facts are determined/fixed by physical facts, then two worlds which are identical in all physical respects must be identical in all other respects. NECESSARY claim If possible world w is identical to our world in all physical respects, then w must be necessarily identical to our world in all other respects Is it possible to have two worlds that are physically identical but not identical in all respects? Jackson “...there is a possible world with organisms exactly like us in every physical respect...but which differ from us profoundly in that they have no conscious mental life at all.” The Modal Argument 1. It is conceivable that there is a world which is exactly like our world in every physical respect but which differs from our world in that they organisms in that world have no conscious mental life. 2. If such world is conceivable, then it is possible. 3. If such a world is possible, then physicalism – which holds that two physically identical worlds are identical in every respect – is false. 4. Therefore, physicalism is false. September 27, 2012: The problem of consciousness What does it mean to explain something? To explain x is to make x intelligible (clear) Easy problems of consciousness vs. the hard problem of consciousness The easy problems are the how and the hard problem is the why.
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Easy problems of consciousness the ability to discriminate, categorize, and react to environmental stimuli; the integration of information by a cognitive system; the reportability of mental states; the ability of a system to access its ow internal states; the focus of attention; the deliberate control of behavior the difference between wakefulness and sleep Why are these problems of consciousness? These problems are associated with the notion of consciousness. Why are these problems easy ?
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