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They hold that there is nothing more to the mental, biological and social realms than arrangements of physical entities. The driving motivation for this kind of ontological naturalism is the need to explain how special entities can have physical effects.
Thus many contemporary thinkers adopt a physicalist view of the mental realm because they think that otherwise we will be unable to explain how mental processes can causally influence our bodies and other physical items.
Similar considerations motivate ontologically naturalist views of the biological realm, the social realm, and so on. It may not be immediately obvious why this need to account for physical effects should impose any substantial naturalist constraints on some category.
However, there may be a posteriori objections to such non-natural causal influences on the physical world, even if there are no a priori objections. We shall see below how modern scientific theory places strong restrictions on the kinds of entities that can have physical effects.
Given that mental, biological and social phenomena do have such effects, it follows that they must satisfy the relevant restrictions.
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Note how this kind of argument bites directly only on those categories that do have physical effects. It places no immediate constraints on categories that lack any such effects, which arguably include the mathematical and modal realms, and perhaps the moral realm.
We shall return to the question of whether there are any further reasons for ontologically naturalist views about causally non-efficacious categories in sections 1. It will be worth rehearsing this history in outline, if only to forestall a common reaction to ontological naturalism.
However, familiarity with the relevant scientific history casts the matter in a different light. It turns out that naturalist doctrines, far from varying with ephemeral fashion, are closely responsive to received scientific opinion about the range of causes that can have physical effects.
A short version of this history runs like this: Let us now rehearse this story more slowly. So stated, the mechanical philosophy immediately precludes anything except impacting material particles from producing physical effects.
Views which avoid ontological naturalistic views of the mind by denying that it has any physical effects will be discussed further in section 1. This reinstated the possibility of interactive dualism, since it allowed disembodied forces as well as impacts to cause physical effects. Newtonian physics was open-ended about the kinds of forces that exist.
Early Newtonians posited fundamental mental and vital forces alongside magnetic, chemical, cohesive, gravitational and impact forces.
Accordingly, they took sui generis mental action in the material world to be perfectly consistent with the principle of physics. Moreover, there is nothing in the original principles of Newtonian mechanics to stop mental forces arising autonomously and spontaneously, in line with common assumptions about the operation of the mind Papineau However, the conservation of energy does imply that any such special forces must be governed by strict deterministic laws: Detailed physiological research, especially into nerve cells, gave no indication of any physical effects that cannot be explained in terms of basic physical forces that also occur outside living bodies.
By the middle of the twentieth century, belief in sui generis mental or vital forces had become a minority view.
In the initial seventeenth-century mechanical phase, there was a tension, as Leibniz observed, between the dominant strict mechanism and interactive dualism. However, once mechanism was replaced by the more liberal doctrines of Newtonian physics in the second phase, science ceased to raise any objections to dualism and more generally to non-physical causes of physical effects.
In the third phase, the nineteenth-century discovery of the conservation of energy continued to allow that sui generis non-physical forces can interact with the physical world, but required that they be governed by strict force laws.
We might usefully view this as a species of ontological naturalism that falls short of full physicalism.The Higgs boson is an elementary particle in the Standard Model of particle physics, produced by the quantum excitation of the Higgs field, one of the fields in particle physics theory.
It is named after physicist Peter Higgs, who in , along with six other scientists, proposed the mechanism, which suggested the existence of such a particle. Time. Time is what we use a clock to measure.
Information about time tells us the durations of events, and when they occur, and which events happen before which others, so time has a very significant role in the universe's organization.
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