The mind-brain identity theory (or identity thesis) is the assertion that mental states/events/processes are identical to brain states/events/processes. The type identity theory (often called just the "identity theory") says that mental types are physical types, while the token identity theory says that mental tokens are physical tokens. Over the years the thesis has been successively understood as involving a contingent identity relation, an analytic identity relation, and then an posteriori necessary identity relation. The most common objection to the type identity theory is the objection from multiple realizability.
An elementary mathematical proof is offered that mental states cannot be either intensionally or extensionally identical with brain states. the proof consists in taking a subset of mental states, namely, possible thoughts of integers and showing that this set has the cardinal number aleph null; then taking the largest physically possible set of brain states k and the number of subsets of k which is 2 to the power k, and which, no matter how large, is necessarily finite. it follows (...) that these two sets cannot correspond one to one from which it then follows that they cannot have identical elements. i conclude with answers to likely objections and with a denial that my argument supports traditional dualism. (shrink)
In this article, I undertake the tasks: (i) of reconsidering Feigl’s notion of a ‘nomological dangler’ in light of recent discussion about the viability of accommodating phenomenal properties, or qualia, within a physicalist picture of reality; and (ii) of constructing an argument to the effect that nomological danglers, including the way qualia are understood to be related to brain states by contemporary dualists, are extremely unlikely. I offer a probabilistic argument to the effect that merely nomological danglers are extremely unlikely, (...) the only probabilistically coherent candidates being ‘anomic danglers’ (not even nomically correlated) and ‘necessary danglers’ (more than merely nomically correlated). After I show, based on similar probabilistic reasoning, that the first disjunct (anomic danglers) is very unlikely, I conclude that the identity thesis is the only remaining candidate for the mental–physical connection. The novelty of the argument is that it brings probabilistic considerations in favor of physicalism, a move that has been neglected in the recent burgeoning literature on the subject. (shrink)
A philosophy might take its general inspiration from (1) commonsense; (2) careful observation; (3) philosophical argumentation; (4) the sciences; (5) "higher" sources of illumination. It is argued in this paper that it is bedrock commonsense, and the sciences, which are the most reliable foundations for a philosophy. This result is applied to the discussion and defense of a materialist theory of the mind.
The paper tries to rebut an objection to materialism. Anti-Materialists have argued that mental processes do not appear to be mere physical processes in the brain, And that secondary qualities such as sounds do not appear to be mere vibrations in the air. So materialists must admit that introspection and perception involve at least the illusion of the falsity of materialism. Using the headless woman illusion as a model, It is shown how the illusion is generated, And that it is (...) exactly what we ought to expect even if materialism is true. (shrink)
It is argued that, because of scientific essentialism, two currently popular arguments against the mind-body identity thesis -- the multiple-realizability argument and the Nagel-Jackson knowledge argument -- are unsatisfactory as they stand and that their problems are incurable. It is then argued that a refutation of the identity thesis in its full generality can be achieved by weaving together two traditional Cartesian arguments -- the modal argument and the certainty argument. This argument establishes, not just the falsity of the identity (...) thesis, but also the metaphysical possibility of disembodiment. (shrink)
Functionalists in philosophy of mind traditionally raise two major arguments against the type identity theory: (1) psychological states are _multiply realizable_ so that there are no one-to-one mappings of psychological states onto neural states and (2) the most that evidence could ever establish is the _correlation_ of psychological and neural states, not their identity. We defend a variant on the traditional type identity theory which we call _heuristic identity theory_ (HIT) against both of these objections. Drawing its inspiration from scientific (...) practice, heuristic identity theory construes identity claims as hypotheses that guide subsequent inquiry, not as conclusions of the research. (shrink)
Mind body, not a pseudo-problem, by H. Feigl.--Is consciousness a brain process? by U. T. Place.--Sensations and brain processes, by J. J. C. Smart.--The nature of mind, by D. M. Armstrong.--Materialism as a scientific hypothesis, by U. T. Place.--Sensations and brain processes: a reply to J. J. C. Smart, by J. T. Stevenson.--Further remarks on sensations and brain processes, by J. J. C. Smart.--Smart on sensations, by K. Baier.--Brain processes and incorrigibility, by J. J. C. Smart.--Could mental states be brain (...) processes? by J. Shaffer.--The identity of mind and body, by J. Cornman.--Shaffer on the identity of mental states and brain processes, by R. Coburn.--Mental events and the brain, by J. Shaffer.--Comment: mental events and the brain, by P. Feyerabend.--Materialism and the mind-body problem, by P. Feyerabend.--Materialism, by J. J. C. Smart.--Scientific materialism and the identity theory, by N. Malcolm.--Professor Malcolm on scientific materialism and the identity theory, by E. Sosa.--Rejoinder to Mr. Sosa, by N. Malcolm.--Mind-body identity, privacy and categories, by R. Rorty.--Physicalism, by T. Nagel.--Mind-body identity, a side issue? by C. Taylor.--Illusions and identity, by J. M. Hinton.--Bibliography (p. -261). (shrink)
We make how a person acts intelligible by revealing it as rational in the light of what she perceives, thinks, wants and so on. For example, we might explain that she reached out and picked up a glass because she was thirsty and saw that it contained water. In doing this, we are giving a causal explanation of her behaviour in terms of her antecedent beliefs, desires and other attitudes. Her wanting a drink and realizing that the glass contained one (...) caused her reaching out and grasping for it. This tells us how the action came about and makes sense of why it happened. At least, something broadly along these lines strikes me as a fairly crude and partial regimentation of our pretheoretic understanding of everyday action explanation. (shrink)
The only sensible solution to the mind-body problem is a type-type identity theory. I wish to argue for a version of Type-Type identity theory that withstands the usual seemingly fatal objections, which I call ‘R-Type Identity Theory’ and which has three claims. First, an identity theory does not entail ‘reducing’ or ‘eliminating’ one set of things to or in favor of another set of things and introduces epidentity (treating identified relata as distinct). Secondly, pain and what-it-is-like to be in pain (...) are distinguishable and introduces frigid stipulation (a pragmatic rather than semantic property by which we stipulate reference). Finally there may be more than one type of mental state in question and introduces subtypes (a pained brainless Martian is evidence that their state is a pain subtype). With the standard objections to identity theory taken care of we are free to embrace the only truly satisfying, non-Cartesian, philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Putnam raises two objections against the token-identity theory in his _Dewey Lectures. (1) Token-physicalism invokes a mysterious or _sui generis concept of identity between mental and physical event tokens; (2) The theory suffers from explanatory failure because it cannot individuate mental events using physical criteria. I argue that the first claim is false, since Davidson adopts the same criterion of identity Quine employs for ordinary objects which invokes a concept of identity we understand clearly enough. I then show that Putnam's (...) second complaint is an extravagant demand that needs not be answered and is at odds with his own direct realism. (shrink)
The paper makes a comparative study of james' interpretation of mental acts in terms of the felt movements of the body and the identity theory presented and defended by j j c smart and u t place. some features of remarkable similarity as well as important differences between james' view and the identity theory are discussed. a special reference is made to james' view on the question of the alleged spatial location of mental events.
The identity theory’s rise to prominence in analytic philosophy of mind during the late 1950s and early 1960s is widely seen as a watershed in the development of physicalism, in the sense that whereas logical behaviourism proposed analytic and a priori ascertainable identities between the meanings of mental and physical-behavioural concepts, the identity theory proposed synthetic and a posteriori knowable identities between mental and physical properties. While this watershed does exist, the standard account of it is misleading, as it is (...) founded in erroneous intensional misreadings of the logical positivists’—especially Carnap’s—extensional notions of translation and meaning, as well as misinterpretations of the positivists’ shift from the strong thesis of translation-physicalism to the weaker and more liberal notion of reduction-physicalism that occurred in the Unity of Science programme. After setting the historical record straight, the essay traces the first truly modern identity theory to Schlick’s pre-positivist views circa 1920 and goes on to explore its further development in Feigl, arguing that the fundamental difference between the Schlick-Feigl identity theory and the more familiar and influential Place-Smart-Armstrong identity theory has resurfaced in the deep and seemingly unbridgeable gulf in contemporary philosophy of consciousness between inflationary mentalism and deflationary physicalism. (shrink)
This paper disputes a common definition of token identity theory. It also observes that within the philosophical literature there are two significantly different definitions of token identity theory that are commonly used.