Materialist Hegemony? A Reexamination

From Robert C. Koons and George Bealer, eds., The Waning of Materialism (2010), ix-x:

It is . . . commonly thought that over the course of the last sixty or so years materialism achieved hegemony in academic philosophy, and this is no doubt right by certain measures—for example, in absolute number of self-identified materialist philosophers of mind or in absolute number of books and journal articles defending materialism. It is therefore surprising that an examination of the major philosophers active in this period reveals that a majority, or something approaching a majority, either rejected materialism or had serious and specific doubts about its ultimate viability. The following is just a partial sampling of these philosophers, more or less in order of birth.

Bertrand Russell, Rudolf Carnap, Alonzo Church, Kurt Godel, Nelson Goodman, Paul Grice, Stuart Hampshire, Roderick Chisholm, Benson Mates, Peter Strawson, Hilary Putnam, John Searle, Jerrold Katz, Alvin Plantinga, Charles Parsons, Jaegwon Kim, George Myro, Thomas Nagel, Robert Adams, Hugh Mellor, Saul Kripke, Eli Hirsch, Ernest Sosa, Stephen Schiffer, Bas van Fraassen, John McDowell, Peter Unger, Derek Parfit, Crispin Wright, Laurence BonJour, Michael Jubien, Nancy Cartwright, Bob Hale, Kit Fine, Tyler Burge, Terence Horgan, Colin McGinn, Robert Brandom, Nathan Salmon, Joseph Levine, Timothy Williamson, Mark Johnston, Paul Boghossian, Stephen Yablo, Joseph Almog, Keith DeRose, Tim Crane, John Hawthorne, Richard Heck, David Chalmers.

Materialism plainly has not achieved hegemony when it comes to philosophers of this high caliber.

A footnote adds: “For all the people listed, we have documentation that they either rejected materialism or harbored serious and specific doubts about its ultimate viability. All the living philosophers listed (Putnam, Searle, Plantinga, Parsons, Kim, Nagel, and all those following) have given us explicit permission to include them on the list (under the description used in the sentence preceding this one).”

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