“Eliminative physicalism”: Theses towards a scientistic schema

  1. A completed physics would represent a total and finished description and explanation of reality; would represent the only complete description (the only actual description). There can be no “nomological danglers” (Smart, Feigl).
  2. All non-physical facts can be either reduced to purely physical facts (the non-physical element was a superstition), or they can be eliminated from the schema (the fact was a superstition in toto).
  3. Three formulations: (1) An exhaustive list of all scientific facts is an exhaustive list of all facts. (2) To possess every physical fact is to possess all facts. (3) Knowledge of every physical fact grants knowledge of every fact.
  4. Unity of the sciences is both a methodological and ontological goal/claim; the ontology holds primacy, as methodology is resultant from, and dependent upon, ontology.
  5. At least some token folk schematic statements/theories can and do prove functional. This is reason to attempt reduction; it is not inherently a sign that the folk schema is ontologically correct.
  6. Analytic reduction and/or elimination works only where there is no ontologically-obtaining basis for the language, i.e., when it is meaningless. When there is an underlying ontology to the language’s point of reference, however misguided and incorrect the language may be, it is not totally reducible or removable. This can be seen in the success of analytic reduction in ethics (where there is no ontology) and the failure of analytic reduction in mind (where there is some ontology).
  7. Physics is subjectively objective; it offers an “objective” viewpoint from the perspective of a subject. A completed physics is beyond the capacity of a physical entity.
  8. Human failures of explanation and analysis (i.e., of science) do not signify or justify the introduction of extrauniversal, extraphysical entities, properties, or processes.
  9. The attempt generates its own rewards, both applicable and abstract.
  10. Unity of the sciences and the non-sciences is a political, and not a scientific, programme.
  11. ‘The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it’ (Marx). ‘The scientific world-conception serves life, and life receives it’ (Neurath).

Philosophy. Writing on Marxism, eliminativism in philosophy of mind and metaethics, suffering(-focused ethics), and philosophical pessimism.

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