Beyond physicalism

D. Hutto

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Beyond Physicalism attempts to establish the nature of the limits to our understanding of basic experiences and to stake out the consequences these have for an appropriate metaphysics. The argument of the book advances in three stages. I argue that two conceptual problems concerning consciousness must be distinguished. The first concerns the correct way in which to characterise the nature of consciousness itself - let us call this the 'phenomenology problem'. But, I also claim standard attempts to address this problem are constrained by their focus on a second problem, which I dub the 'metaphysical problem'. Solving this latter problem essentially requires us to provide an intelligible representation of the relation between the mental and the physical. Crucially, its very formulation links it to traditional physicalist conceptions of basic ontology. My claim is that it is not a problem to be solved - but one to be avoided. I propose that it dissolves if we reform our assumptions concerning what is natural and rethink our orthodox metaphysics. Nor is such a move ad hoc, as there are independent reasons for doing so. To this end I defend a form of absolute idealism that permits pluralism but which does not collapse into mere conceptual or linguistic idealism. I attempt to show that the version of absolute idealism I am interested in is not a 'dead' option by establishing that it is not at odds with modern science and that its central claims have not been already successfully refuted at the turn of the twentieth century.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
ISBN (Print)978-9027251411
Publication statusPublished - 2000


Dive into the research topics of 'Beyond physicalism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this