Andrew Melnyk

Andrew Melnyk
Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies
123 Middlebush Hall

B.A. Literae Humaniores (Oxford University, 1985)

B.Phil. Philosophy (Oxford University, 1987)

D.Phil. Philosophy (Oxford University, 1991)

I studied philosophy as an undergraduate under C.C.W. Taylor and Jennifer Hornsby, and as a graduate student under Jennifer Hornsby again, Jonathan Barnes, Michael Dummett, Michael Woods, and Bill Newton-Smith. Before Oxford, I was educated at St. Paul’s School, London.


I'm interested in all aspects of the philosophy of mind and in many aspects of general philosophy of science and of metaphysics. In most of my work, I've tried to formulate a comprehensive thesis of physicalism (or materialism) in terms of a carefully-defined relation of realization, to explore the implications of physicalism for various reductionist theses, to defend its consistency with causal claims made in the special sciences and everyday life, and to display empirical evidence that it is true.  I've also written about naturalism, philosophical methodology, and (a little bit) the philosophy of language.

Currently, I'm finishing a book manuscript (under contract with Oxford University Press) in which I try to explain why it might seem to us that phenomenal consciousness couldn't be purely physical, even if in fact it is.


I often teach:

Phil 1000H The Big Questions (Honors)

Phil 1200H How To Think (Honors)

Phil 4210 Philosophy of Mind

Phil 4400 Philosophy of Science

Phil 8100 Protoseminar

Phil 9710 Philosophy of Mind and Psychology

Select Publications


A Physicalist Manifesto: Thoroughly Modern Materialism. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003; paperback 2007. Table of Contents & Introduction.

Papers and Longer Reviews (Since 2001)

Two-Dimensionalism and the Foundation of Linguistic Analysis ”.  In Stephen Biggs and Heimir Geirsson (eds.) The Routledge Handbook on Linguistic Reference.  New York: Routledge (2021), pp. 257-267.

Physicalism". In Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy. Ed. Duncan Pritchard. New York: Oxford University Press. Modified: 11-24-2020.

The Mind Is Material” and “Reply to ‘The Mind is Immaterial’ [by Charles Taliaferro]”.  In Steven B. Cowan (ed.) Problems in Epistemology and Metaphysics: An Introduction to Contemporary Debates. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020, pp. 282-293 and 311-315.

Physicalism”, 2019, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-V050-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis.

Andreas Elpidorou and Guy Dove’s Consciousness and Physicalism: A Defense of a Research Program (Routledge, 2018)”, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 10/27/18.

In Defense of a Realization Formulation of Physicalism”, Topoi, 37.3 (2018): 483-493. 

Grounding And The Formulation Of Physicalism”. In K. Aizawa and C. Gillett (eds.), Scientific Composition and Metaphysical Ground. London: Palgrave-Macmillan (2016), pp. 249-269.

The Scientific Evidence For Materialism About Pains”. In Steven M. Miller (ed.) The Constitution of Phenomenal Consciousness: Toward a Science and Theory. John Benjamins Publishing Co. (2015), pp. 310-329.

"Pereboom's Robust Non-reductive Physicalism", Erkenntnis, 79.5 (2014), 1191-1207.  DOI 10.1007/s10670-013-9592-7.

Robert Kirk’s The Conceptual Link From Physical To Mental”, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92.3 (2014), 596-599.

Can Metaphysics Be Naturalized?  And If So, How?” In Don Ross, James Ladyman, and Harold Kincaid (eds.) Scientific Metaphysics (Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 79-95.

Materialism”, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 3.3 (2012), 281–292. 

Brief comment on William Robinson’s “Challenges for a Humanoid Robot” at On The Human: a project of the Nations Humanities Center, June 2011.

What Do Philosophers Know?” [Critical notice of Timothy Williamson’s The Philosophy of Philosophy, OUP, 2007], Grazer Philosophische Studien, 80.1 (2010), 297-307.

Comments on Sydney Shoemaker’s Physical Realization”, Philosophical Studies, 148.1, (2010), 113-123.

Naturalism As A Philosophical Paradigm”, Philo, 12.2 (2009 [in fact, 2010]), 188-199.

Realization Realized” (A critical study of Sydney Shoemaker’s Physical Realization (OUP, 2007)), Philosophical Books, 50.3 (2009), 185-195.

Galen Strawson’s Real Materialism and other essays (OUP, 2008)”, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 2009-08-01.

Can Physicalism Be Non-Reductive?”, Philosophy Compass, 3/6 (2008), 1281–1296.

Conceptual and Linguistic Analysis: A Two-Step Program”, Noûs, 42.2 (2008), 267-291.

Philosophy and the Study of Its History”, Metaphilosophy, 39.2 (2008), 203-219.

Naturalism, Free Choices, And Conscious Experiences” in Paul Draper (ed.) God or Blind Nature? Philosophers Debate the Evidence (Colorado Springs, CO: Internet Infidels [online publisher] 2007).

Physicalism and the First-Person Point of View: A Reply To Taliaferro and Goetz”, in Paul Draper (ed.) God or Blind Nature? Philosophers Debate the Evidence (Colorado Springs, CO: Internet Infidels [online publisher] 2007).

A Case For Physicalism About The Human Mind”, in Paul Draper (ed.) God or Blind Nature? Philosophers Debate the Evidence (Colorado Springs, CO: Internet Infidels [online publisher] 2007).

Functionalism and Psychological Reductionism: Friends, Not Foes” in Maurice Schouten and Huib Looren de Jong (eds.), The Matter of the Mind: Philosophical Essays on Psychology, Neuroscience and Reduction. New York: Blackwell, 2007, pp. 31-50.

Realization and the Formulation of Physicalism”, Philosophical Studies, 131 (2006), 127-155.

Jaegwon Kim’s Physicalism, or Something Near Enough (Princeton UP, 2005)”, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 2005-07-17.

Michael Rea’s World Without Design: The Ontological Consequences of Naturalism (OUP, 2002)”, Mind, 113 (2004), 575-581.

Rea on Naturalism”, Philo, 7.2 (2004), 131-137. [Earlier version of preceding item.]

Some Evidence For Physicalism”, in Sven Walter and Heinz-Dieter Heckmann (eds.) Physicalism and Mental Causation: The Metaphysics of Mind and Action (Exeter, UK: Imprint Academic, 2003), pp. 155-172.

“Physicalism”, in Stephen Stich and Ted A. Warfield (eds.) The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Mind (New York: Blackwell, 2003), pp. 65-84.

Joe Levine's Purple Haze: The Puzzle of Consciousness”, Philosophical Psychology, 15.3 (2002), 359-62.

Papineau On The Intuition of Distinctness”, SWIF Discussion Forum December 2002 (Sito Web Italiano per la Filosofia).

Physicalism Unfalsified: Chalmers' Inconclusive Conceivability Argument”, in Carl Gillett and Barry Loewer (eds.) Physicalism and Its Discontents (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 331-349.

Older Papers and Longer Reviews

“The Last Word? A Critical Study of Thomas Nagel's The Last Word”, Philosophical Books, 40.1 (1999), 14-18.

“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: A Critical Study of Savellos and Yalçin's Supervenience: New Essays”, Noûs, 33 (1999), 144-154.

“The Prospects For Kirk's Non-Reductive Physicalism”, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 76 (1998), 323-332.

“How To Keep The ‘Physical’ in Physicalism”, Journal of Philosophy, XCIV (1997), 622-637.  (JStor link)

“On The Metaphysical Utility of Claims of Supervenience”, Philosophical Studies, 87 (1997), 277-308.

“The Testament Of A Recovering Eliminativist”, PSA 1996: Proceedings of the 1996 Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association: Supplement To Philosophy of Science, 63 (1996), S185-S193.

“Searle's Abstract Argument Against Strong AI”, Synthese, 108 (1996), 391-419.

“The Prospects For Dretske's Account Of The Explanatory Role Of Belief”, Mind and Language, 11 (1996), 203-215.

“Formulating Physicalism: Two Suggestions”, Synthese, 105 (1995), 381-407.

“Two Cheers For Reductionism; Or, The Dim Prospects For Non-reductive Materialism”, Philosophy of Science, 62 (1995), 370-388.

“Physicalism, Ordinary Objects, and Identity”, Journal of Philosophical Research, 20 (1995), 221-235.

“Inference to the Best Explanation and Other Minds”, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 72 (1994), 482-491.

“Being A Physicalist: How And (More Importantly) Why”, Philosophical Studies, 74 (1994), 221-241.

“Physicalism: From Supervenience To Elimination”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 51 (1991), 573-587.

“Is There A Formal Argument Against Positive Rights?”, Philosophical Studies, 55 (1989), 205-9.

Office Hours

Via Zoom. Please email me for an appointment.

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