What is Physicalism?

803 WordsFeb 19, 20183 Pages
Physicalism is the notion of the entire world being physical. Through physicalism, even human experiences are interpreted as physical. The world is physical in nature and anything included in the world is physical, including thoughts and emotions. Every action and state is reduced to a physical occurrence. For example, a thought is composed of a neurons being in a certain state, creating the way the person thinks. Animals and their actions are physical due to their senses understanding the environment around them and their brain acting accordingly. The physicalist understanding of the mind and body problem is that both are not separate entities. The mind is just a part of the body: a physical entity. Thomas Nagel is a philosopher concerned with consciousness and the mind-body problem. Nagel states that consciousness is overlooked from the physicalist standpoint of understanding the mind. Thomas Nagel believes that the inability to imagine what it is like to be a bat is a problem for physicalism. The human mind is capable of understanding what it would be like as a bat, but is incapable of thinking how a bat experiences being a bat. Nagel discusses the idea of subjective character of experience. Being able to think like about a bat’s life from the point of a bat involves a breach of consciousness. A person cannot implant his brain into that of a bat in order to understand the life of a bat. In order to understand the life of the bat, the viewer would have to experience the
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