Journal for General Philosophy of Science

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 159–183 | Cite as




Qualia and Physicalism. It is assumed that the following three relations exhaust the possibilities for a physicalist account of qualia: 1. determination, 2. identity, 3. realization. The first relation is immediately rejected because it does not exclude property dualism. The second faces the problem that it is probably impossible to discriminate empirically between the identity thesis and the epiphenomenalist position. The third cannot handle qualia adequately, for qualia are not functional properties and the realization relation is only plausible as a relation between physical realizers and functional properties. Finally, if one attempts to replace multiple realization by multiple identities it is shown that the notion of multiple property identities is unintelligible. The upshot is that if these three relations exhaust the possibilities of a physicalist construal of qualia then physicalism is wrong.

qualia physicalism property identity epiphenomenalism 


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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

    • 1
  1. 1.D-Heidelberg

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