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Materialism Versus Non Materialism In Western Science

1034 words - 5 pages

In regards to ontology and Metaphysics, there has always been the question of whether or not the nature of reality is fundamentally material or phenomenal, or whether or not mental states emerge from material causes thereby making them causally inert in themselves or whether or not material things are subsets of an underlying phenomenal realm where this has given rise to two branches of philosophy – materialism and non-materialism. Materialism was adopted as philosophy ontologically privileged to exhaustively describe everything that is by Western philosophy starting with an axiom put forth by the Stoics; everything that exists is material where there is nothing that exists that is immaterial. Western Science takes that axiom, along with its implied postulates, for granted, though, now the idea is that there exists nothing that is not physical. This subtle is called physicalism; however, the underlying premise is an inductive argument meaning that it can be disproved via counter-examples to axioms that define what it means for something to be material, so in order to prove non-materialism, one needs to come up with empirical counter-examples where Parapsychology provides empirical counter-examples that support anti-materialism.
Physicalism starts off with the premise that there exists nothing that is not physical where everything that exists is physical; however, how does one define what it means for something to be physical? Intuitively, when one thinks of the word physical, one thinks of things that are material and concrete, but there are things that are immaterial yet physical such as vacuums and fields. The things that are physical that predicate both material objects, such as matter and energy, and immaterial objects, such as vacuums and fields, are space and time. When one asks what any physical object is in itself, one inexorably will hit a bottom constituted by dimensions of space and time, so in saying there exists nothing that is not physical, where everything that is physical is predicated by space and time, one is saying there exists nothing outside of dimensions of space and time. This gives rise to two axioms: an object cannot exit a temporal point in time and reenter another point in time(since under the idea that nothing is outside of time, it is causally closed) everything that exists is physically caused. Together, this constitutes what is called causal closure.
Causal closure says that everything that exists has a physical cause where a physical effect can thus not precede its cause, so under those parameters, consciousness would be caused by a physical entity called the brain. This means that for every experience that exists, there is a correlated physical neurophysiological cause where consciousness, beyond its physical interactions, is causally inert and thus cannot cause things to happen outside of itself. With that being said, if one were to be given anesthesia that blocks neurophysiological events, this would mean...

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