Friday, June 24, 2022

What is a material thing?

Here's a theory: a material thing is something that has or is a causal power that is not a mental causal power. Variant: that is not a rational causal power.


Sam Harper said...

I think it would be very hard to reach a wide consensus on that definition. Anybody who was a physicalist but not an epiphenomenalist would likely disagree with that definition.

Alexander R Pruss said...

Sure, but I'm not looking here for a consensus, but the truth. :-) It's notoriously hard to come up with an account of matter.

SMatthewStolte said...

I would think it would be possible for an immaterial being to have effects by virtue of that being’s beauty, and that the causal power in such cases would neither be a mental causal power nor a rational causal power. At the very least, the causal power in question would not be linked to a specific intention had by the immaterial being.

Alexander R Pruss said...

Maybe it could only be a mental beauty?

SMatthewStolte said...

Yeah, it might turn out that,
(A) necessarily every beauty had by immaterial beings is a mental beauty.
That doesn’t sound like a logical necessity to me, but I could be wrong.
Does it follow from (A) that
(B) necessarily every causal power exercised by virtue of a mental beauty is a mental causal power.