The Geneva Symmetry Group, Beyond Spacetime, and the Space and Time After Quantum Gravity Project are happy to present
Jonathan Dorsey (Texas Tech):
Defining the Physical
Wednesday, 23 March, 16:15
2, Rue De-Candolle, Room L107 [Map: http://www.openstreetmap.org/]
Anyone who wishes to attend this talk is welcome. The talk will be 2 Einsteins (out of 5).
Abstract: “What is it to be physical? While the answer may seem obvious pre-theoretically, the problem is intractable enough to have earned the epithet ‘the body problem’ in contemporary philosophy. An understanding of what it means to be physical is of crucial importance for many reasons, foremost among them the role this understanding must play in the physicalism debate. I review and reject both the traditional definitions of the physical and the more recent ‘physics-based’ definition. In their place, I propose a ‘physics-guided’ definition. This has three advantages over its predecessors. First, it uses physics strategically, as a guide, in developing a definition of the physical, while stopping short of building physics per se into the very definition. Second, it focuses on the explananda in physics, physics’s explanatory targets, rather than the explanantia, the posits introduced to explain those targets. Third, it produces a traditional-style, direct definition of the physical, while also providing criteria for evaluation and for further development.”