Intertheoretic identification and mind-brain reductionism

Journal of Mind and Behavior 23 (3):193-222 (2002)
Abstract
A recurrent candidate for exemplification of intertheoretic reduction, put forward over past decades within philosophy of science, is the proposition "pitch is identical with sound-frequency." Paul Churchland revives this nominal ontological reduction, placing it beside others as "lightning is an electrical discharge," and "heat is high kinetic energy." Yet no matter whether frequency is considered physically or merely semantically, there is no conceivable format in which such an identity is viable. An analysis of objective qualia said to represent the ground of such equations indicates their fictitious existence, save as misidentified percepts. The criterion of logical identity cannot bridge sensory and stimulus field divisions of perception, hence Churchland's objective qualia, said to straddle both fields, cannot furnish an intelligible or sound basis for identification. Naive realism and its intellectualization as direct realism are shown to be at bottom of confoundment of these fields, generating pseudo-problems involving the putative nature and localization of qualia. These conclusions collectively would then disallow the usual attempts to extrapolate from such fictive identities to a further positing of mind-brain identity, by analogy therewith. It is suggested that the method employed in refutation of "pitch is frequency" may have a more general application. The misemployment of the concept and method of intertheoretical identification in connection with phenomenological experience and science of perception is made explicit
Keywords Brain  Identity  Metaphysics  Mind  Realism  Reductionism  Semantics
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