A Novel Reading of Thomas Nagel’s “Challenge” to Physicalism

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Tümkaya S.

Organon F, vol.28, no.4, pp.1-17, 2021 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 28 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.31577/orgf.2021.28403
  • Journal Name: Organon F
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Central & Eastern European Academic Source (CEEAS), Linguistic Bibliography, Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, Philosopher's Index, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-17
  • Keywords: Folk psychology, Nagel, objective phenomenology, physicalism, science of consciousness, CONSCIOUSNESS, SUBJECTIVITY
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


In passing remarks, some commentators have noted that for Nagel, physicalism is true. It has even been argued that Nagel seeks to find the best path to follow to achieve future physicalism. I advance these observations by adding that for Nagel, we should discuss the consciousness problem not in terms of physical and mental issues but in terms of our desire to include consciousness in an objective/scientific account, and we can achieve this only by revising our self-conception, i.e., folk psychology, to develop a more detached view of experience. Through the project of objective phenomenology, Nagel aims to achieve some sort of objective, detached, and scientific explanation of the subjective nature of experience. This project seeks to make the truth of physicalism intelligible and consciousness more amenable to scientific study, potentially raising an even broader concept than the one physicalism originally proposes.