Observer Dependent Physicalism: A New Argument for Reductive Physicalism and for Scientific Realism

Meir Hemmo, Orly Shenker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Reductive physicalism is a minority view in contemporary philosophy as well as in science, and therefore arguments for endorsing it often amount to arguments against the alternative views, in particular so-called non-reductive physicalism. In this paper we put forward a new argument for reductive physicalism, according to which it is the best account of the empirical data that we have. In particular, we show that: (a) a reductive physicalist theory of the mind forms an essential part of the very argument for the existence of an external world: if one rejects psychophysical identity physicalism, one’s case for believing in the existence of an external world is substantially weakened; and (b) the success of a physical account of the mind is the most important criterion for the success of (future) physics; and (c) reductive physicalism is the only approach in which relying on science in order to account for the external world makes sense; and finally, (d) within reductive physicalism, one can provide a new criterion for theory preference in science, and a new argument for scientific realism. In our physicalist view the experience forms the initial data, which is then reduced to fundamental physics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMathematical Knowledge, Objects and Applications
Subtitle of host publicationEssays in Memory of Mark Steiner
EditorsCarl Posy, Yemima Ben-Menahem
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages38
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-21655-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-21654-1
StatePublished - 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Observer Dependent Physicalism: A New Argument for Reductive Physicalism and for Scientific Realism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this