Physicalism and Alternatives

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Physicalism is the doctrine that our world is fundamentally physical in nature. Substance dualism is an alternative doctrine, according to which there are certain fundamental, irreducible substances (objects) that are not physical - immaterial minds, entelechies, souls, or disembodied spirits. Property (or attribute) dualism, another alternative, maintains that there are fundamental properties that are not physical - spiritual properties or mental properties. Physicalism is a controversial doctrine, even among theorists who deny there is any supernatural realm. Various alternative doctrines to physicalism currently receive some currency, but none receives widespread acceptance. Whether our world is fundamentally physical remains a matter of dispute.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780080970875
ISBN (Print)9780080970868
StatePublished - Mar 26 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


  • A posteriori
  • A priori
  • Constitution
  • Eliminativism
  • Functionalism
  • Grounding
  • Idealism
  • Instantiation
  • Metaphysical necessity
  • Neutral monism
  • Panpsychism
  • Physicalism
  • Possible worlds
  • Property dualism
  • Proto-panpsychism
  • Qualia
  • Realization
  • Substance dualism
  • Supervenience
  • Token
  • Type

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