Applied Physics, Vol. 2, Issue 1, Sep  2019, Pages 21-35; DOI: 10.31058/j.ap.2019.21004 10.31058/j.ap.2019.21004

Physicalism is a Key Item of Current Scientific Knowledge

, Vol. 2, Issue 1, Sep  2019, Pages 21-35.

DOI: 10.31058/j.ap.2019.21004

Nicholas Maxwell 1*

1 Science and Technology Studies, University College London, London, England

Received: 6 July 2019; Accepted: 30 September 2019; Published: 5 November 2019

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This paper gives a specific interpretation to physicalism, and argues that physicalism, in this sense, is a key item of scientific knowledge.  Physicalism is interpreted to be the thesis that the universe is such that there is a not yet discovered true physical theory of everything that is unified.  What it means for a physical theory to be unified is then explicated.  Physicalism, interpreted along these lines, is implicit in the way in which in physics only unified theories are ever accepted, even though endlessly many empirically more successful, disunified rivals always exist.  In order to give ourselves the best chance of improving this implicit, problematic, metaphysical thesis, we need to adopt a new conception of science, aim-oriented empiricism, which construes physics as making a hierarchy of assumptions concerning the knowability and comprehensibility of the universe.  Physicalism is one of these assumptions.




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