AuthorBiggs, Stephen Thomas
Committee ChairHorgan, Terry
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation consists of two parts. Part I proposes a new approach to modality, abductive modal realism. Part II proposes a new version of physicalism, abductive physicalism. The parts relate in that abductive physicalism presupposes abductive modal realism.Abductive modal realism holds that inference to the best explanation (i.e. abduction) grounds some and any justified belief about mind-independent necessity and possibility. This approach avoids the disadvantages of extant approaches to modality. Specifically, unlike extant approaches, abductive modal realism accepts real, mind-independent necessities and possibilities without employing a modal epistemology that fits these poorly. Abductive physicalism holds that we should adopt abductive modal realism, that abduction favors physicalism, and thus, that we should adopt physicalism. Although standard a posteriori physicalism accepts the latter claims, it sees appeals to abduction as exceptions to an otherwise non-abductive modal epistemology. Abductive physicalism, contrariwise, sees abduction as the arbitrator of modal disputes quite generally. This difference allows abductive physicalism to avoid problems that plague standard a posteriori physicalism.