The nature of the physical and the meaning of physicalism



Published 26-10-2023
Mahmoud Jalloh


I provide an account of the physical appropriate to the task of the physicalist while remaining faithful to the usage of “physical” natural to physicists. Physicalism is the thesis that everything in the world is physical, or reducible to the physical. I presuppose that some version of this position is a live epistemic possibility. The physicalist is confronted with Hempel’s dilemma: that physicalism is either false or contentless. The proposed account of the physical avoids both horns and generalizes a recent proposal by Vicente (2011). My account defines physicalism as the thesis that there are no objects that cannot be described by physical quantities. A dimensional account of physical quantities is given: quantities are determined by measurement procedures.

How to Cite

Jalloh, M. (2023). The nature of the physical and the meaning of physicalism. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, 38(2), 205–223.
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physicalism, quantities, metaphysics, mind, dimensions