In “Giving Dualism its Due“, William Lycan maintains his materialism while also stating that there are few convincing arguments for materialism and against dualism. Two things I find oddly missing from Lycan’s discussion are any mention of Quine (who gave many arguments for materialism) and any mention of idealism (against which both the materialist and the dualist must defend their belief in physical bodies).
Current dualists and materialists would do well to reexamine their common belief in the reality of the kind of physical ontology denied by idealists. In our “Type-Q Materialism“, Josh Weisberg and I write:
Most discussions in contemporary philosophy of physicalism, qualia, and other issues pertinent to the mind-body problem proceed against a seldom discussed yet shared background assumption of the existence of physical objects, while what’s debated is whether to affirm the existence of anything else, for instance, qualia. However, contemporary thinkers would do well to examine the grounds for belief in physical objects and question whether existing considerations in favor of so-called qualia are consistent with such grounds.
Another way of framing the issues we would like to examine in the current section would be to ask what reasons for not being a phenomenalist (a person who believes only in experiences and their properties) wouldn’t also lead to being a full-blown physicalist (a person who believes only in physical objects and their properties). If one wanted to consider such a question and some of the best answers to it, it would be no idle exercise to retrace the thoughts of Quine on precisely these issues.