Authored by: William S. Robinson

The Routledge Handbook Of Consciousness

Print publication date:  March  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138936218
eBook ISBN: 9781315676982
Adobe ISBN:


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Dualism is the view that our world contains two irreducible kinds of entities, the physical and the non-physical. Its main contemporary rival is physicalism (also known as “materialism”). According to this view, everything there is, notably including conscious minds, is physical. To understand the distinction between the physical and what is not physical, let us begin with something that is uncontroversially physical – say, a rock. It is uncertain what the very smallest parts of a rock are, but in this article, I’ll assume that the Standard Model of physics gives us the fundamental physical things. These are particles such as photons, electrons, and quarks. Physical objects, then, are the fundamental physical objects together with everything that is composed exclusively of those. A representative list that can be generated from this definition includes electrons, protons, atoms, molecules, crystals, cells, rocks, corals, bricks, buildings, planets, and stars.

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