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 identitytheory, by N. Malcolm.--Professor Malcolm on scientific materialism and the identitytheory, 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)
Is it rational to believe that the mind is identical to the brain? Identity theorists say it is (or looks like it will be, once all the neuroscientific evidence is in), and they base this claim on a general epistemic route to belief in identity. I re-develop this general route and defend it against some objections. Then I discuss how rational belief in mind–brain identity, obtained via this route, can be threatened by an appropriately adjusted version of (...) the anti-physicalist knowledge argument. Responses to this threat usually appeal either to different modes of presentation or to phenomenal concepts. But neither type of response is satisfactory. I provide a novel response, which appeals to an innocuous epistemic peculiarity of phenomenal states, namely their, as I shall call it, evidential insulation. (shrink)
Based on the technique of pressure blinding of the eye, two types of after-image (AI) were identified. A physicalist or mind/brain identity explanation was established for a negative a AI produced by moderately intense stimuli. These AI's were shown to be located in the neurons of the retina. An illusory AI of double a grating's spatial frequency was also produced in the same structure and was both prevented from being established and abolished after establishment by pressure blinding, thus showing (...) that the location was not more central. The illusory AI was predicted from the known non-linearity in the retina and this is the first case of a clear cut type-type identity of a sensation and a neural process. Some implications for the concepts of the explanatory gap between neurology and consciousness and multiple neural realizations of conscious states and topic neutrality are discussed. (shrink)
The mind-body problem arises because all theories about mind-brain connections are too deeply obscure to gain general acceptance. This essay suggests a clear, simple, mind-brain solution that avoids all these perennial obscurities. (1) It does so, first of all, by reworking Strawson and Stoljar’s views. They argue that while minds differ from observable brains, minds can still be what brains are physically like behind the appearances created by our outer senses. This could avoid many obscurities. But to clearly (...) do so, it must first clear up its own deep obscurity about what brains are like behind appearances, and how they create the mind’s privacy, unity and qualia – all of which observable brains lack. (2) This can ultimately be done with a clear, simple assumption: our consciousness is the physical substance that certain brain events consist of beyond appearances. For example, the distinctive electrochemistry in nociceptor ion channels wholly consists of pain. This rejects that pain is a brain property: instead it’s a brain substance that occupies space in brains, and exerts forces by which it’s indirectly detectable via EEGs. (3) This assumption is justified because treating pains as physical substances avoids the perennial obscurities in mind-body theories. For example, this ‘clear physicalism’ avoids the obscure nonphysical pain of dualism and its spinoffs. Pain is instead an electrochemical substance. It isn’t private because it’s hidden in nonphysical minds, but instead because it’s just indirectly detected in the physical world in ways that leave its real nature hidden. (4) Clear physicalism also avoids puzzling reductions of private pains into more fundamental terms of observable brain activity. Instead pain is a hidden, private substance underlying this observable activity. Also, pain is fundamental in itself, for it’s what some brain activity fundamentally consists of. This also avoids reductive idealist claims that the world just exists in the mind. They yield obscure views on why we see a world that isn’t really out there. (5) Clear physicalism also avoids obscure claims that pain is information processing which is realizable in multiple hardwares (not just in electrochemistry). Molecular neuroscience now casts doubt on multiple realization. Also, it’s puzzling how abstract information gets ‘realized’ in brains and affects brains (compare ancient quandries on how universals get embodied in matter). A related idea is that of supervenient properties in nonreductive physicalism. They involve obscure overdetermination and emergent consciousness. Clear physicalism avoids all this. Pain isn’t an abstract property obscurely related to brains – it’s simply a substance in brains. (6) Clear physicalism also avoids problems in neuroscience. Neuroscience explains the mind’s unity in problematic ways using synchrony, attention, etc.. Clear physicalism explains unity in terms of intense neuroelectrical activity reaching continually along brain circuits as a conscious whole. This fits evidence that just highly active, highly connected circuits are fully conscious. Neuroscience also has problems explaining how qualia are actually encoded by brains, and how to get from these abstract codes to actual pain, fear, etc.. Clear physicalism explains qualia electrochemically, using growing evidence that both sensory and emotional qualia correlate with very specific electrical channels in neural receptors. Multiple-realization advocates overlook this important evidence. (7) Clear physicalism thus bridges the mind-brain gulf by showing how brains can possess the mind’s qualia, unity and privacy – and how minds can possess features of brain activity like occupying space and exerting forces. This unorthodox nonreductive physicalism may be where physicalism leads to when stripped of all its reductive and nonreductive obscurities. It offers a clear, simple mind-body solution by just filling in what neuroscience is silent about, namely, what brain matter is like behind perceptions of it. (shrink)
Russell (1912) and others have argued that the real nature of colour is transparentto us in colour vision. It's nature is fully revealed to us and no further knowledgeis theoretically possible. This is the doctrine of revelation. Two-dimensionalFourier analyses of coloured checkerboards have shown that apparently simple,monadic, colours can be based on quite different physical mechanisms. Experimentswith the McCollough effect on different types of checkerboards have shown thatidentical colours can have energy at the quite different orientations of Fourierharmonic components but (...) no energy at the edges of the checkerboards, thusrefuting revelation. It is concluded that this effect is not explained by a superveniencedispositional account of colour as proposed by McGinn (1996). It was argued that theMcCollough effect in checkerboards was an example of a local mind/body reduction(Kim 1993), by which the different characteristics of identical colours falsifies revelation. This reduction being based on both physical and neurological mechanisms led to a clear explanation of the perceive phenomenal effects and thus laid a small bridge over the explanatory gap. (shrink)
In a previous article, Professor abelson contended that the mind-Body identitytheory was 'mathematically impossible' inasmuch as the number of possible mental states of a finite thinking organism are infinite, While the number of possible bodily states of such an organism are necessarily finite. I argue that this refutation does not succeed because although it is true that a finite brain can have only a finite number of brain states, Abelson had not demonstrated that there was a limitation (...) on what type of brain state could be generated by a finite brain. Thus, For instance, Although the number of natural numbers that such a brain could think of was necessarily finite, This in itself did not militate against the possibility of the brain producing a brain state corresponding to any natural number, Out of a possible infinite set, That can be thought of. (shrink)
This is the one and only book by the pioneer of the identitytheory of mind. The collection focuses on Place's philosophy of mind and his contributions to neighboring issues in metaphysics and epistemology. It includes an autobiographical essay as well as a recent paper on the function and neural location of consciousness.
The identitytheory of mind holds that states and processes of the mind are identical to states and processes of the brain. Strictly speaking, it need not hold that the mind is identical to the brain. Idiomatically we do use ‘She has a good mind’ and ‘She has a good brain’ interchangeably but we would hardly say ‘Her mind weighs fifty ounces’. Here I take identifying mind and brain as being a matter of identifying processes and perhaps states (...) of the mind and brain. Consider an experience of pain, or of seeing something, or of having a mental image. The identitytheory of mind is to the effect that these experiences just are brain processes, not merely correlated with brain processes. (shrink)
Despite its significance in neuroscience and computation, McCulloch and Pitts's celebrated 1943 paper has received little historical and philosophical attention. In 1943 there already existed a lively community of biophysicists doing mathematical work on neural networks. What was novel in McCulloch and Pitts's paper was their use of logic and computation to understand neural, and thus mental, activity. McCulloch and Pitts's contributions included (i) a formalism whose refinement and generalization led to the notion of finite automata (an important formalism in (...) computability theory), (ii) a technique that inspired the notion of logic design (a fundamental part of modern computer design), (iii) the first use of computation to address the mind–body problem, and (iv) the first modern computational theory of mind and brain. (shrink)
This paper disputes a common definition of token identitytheory. It also observes that within the philosophical literature there are two significantly different definitions of token identitytheory that are commonly used.
The identitytheory’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 identitytheory 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 identitytheory 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 identitytheory and the more familiar and influential Place-Smart-Armstrong identitytheory has resurfaced in the deep and seemingly unbridgeable gulf in contemporary philosophy of consciousness between inflationary mentalism and deflationary physicalism. (shrink)
R. Abelson argues that the identitytheory is false because it is possible to have an infinite number of thoughts (e.G. Of natural numbers) while the number of possible brain states is finite. The refutation fails because it conflates the logical possibility of having infinite thoughts with the actual ability to have them. The latter depends on many contingent facts, One of which may be the number of possible brain states.
In the 1950’s and 1960’s, Feigl, Place and Smart offered an answer to the mind‑body problem called IdentityTheory. According to IdentityTheory, there are physical descriptions describing the same event as first‑person descriptions of experience. In this article, we address the criticism that mind‑body identity can be refuted on logical grounds, taken in the widest sense. Kripke’s criticism to this effect, as developed in Naming and Necessity, will be our central concern. Another notorious argument (...) we will consider is Chalmers’s, as developed in The Conscious Mind. The Identity Theorists originally held that identity statements could be contingently true. Kripke argues that all true identity statements are true necessarily. If the mind‑body identity is contingent, as Kripke thinks it must be, it cannot be true. Unlike Identity Theorists, I accept that body‑mind identity must be necessary, but unlike Kripke, I argue that it can be. Central to my refutation of Kripke and Chalmers is a more elaborate approach to thinking about reference. (shrink)
The analysis of mental concepts suggests that the distinctionbetween the mental and the nonmental is not ontologically fundamental,and that, whereas mental processes are one and the same things as thebrain processes with which they are correlated, dispositional mentalstates depend causally on and are, thus, ''''distinct existences'''' fromthe states of the brain microstructure with which ''they'' are correlated.It is argued that this difference in the relation between an entity andits composition/underlying structure applies across the board. allstuffs and processes are the same (...) thing as is described by a descriptionof their microstructure. In all cases where the manifestation of adisposition extends beyond the ''''skin'''' of the dispositional propertybearer, dispositions invariably depend causally on the structure,usually the microstructure, of the bearer. (shrink)
In this book, Hodgson presents a clear and compelling case against today's orthodox mechanistic view of the brain-mind, and in favor of the view that "the mind matters." In the course of the argument he ranges over such topics as consciousness, informal reasoning, computers, evolution, and quantum indeterminancy and non-locality. Although written from a philosophical viewpoint, the book has important implications for the sciences concerned with the brain-mind problem. At the same time, it is largely non-technical, and thus accessible to (...) the non-specialist reader. (shrink)
We present a hypothetical process of mind coalescence, where arti cial connections are created between two or more brains. This might simply allow for an improved form of communication. At the other extreme, it might merge the minds into one in a process that can be thought of as a reverse split-brain operation. We propose that one way mind coalescence might happen is via an exocortex, a prosthetic extension of the biological brain which integrates with the brain as seamlessly as (...) parts of the biological brain integrate with each other. An exocortex may also prove to be the easiest route for mind uploading, as a person's personality gradually moves away from the aging biological brain and onto the exocortex. Memories might also be copied and shared even without minds being permanently merged. Over time, the borders of personal identity may become loose or even unnecessary. (shrink)
Brain implants, such as Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), which are designed to improve motor, mood and behavioural pathology, present unique challenges to our understanding of identity, agency and free will. This is because these devices can have visible effects on persons' physical and psychological properties yet are essentially undetectable when operating correctly. They can supplement and compensate for one's inherent abilities and faculties when they are compromised by neuropsychiatric disorders. Further, unlike talk therapy or pharmacological treatments, patients need not (...) ‘do’ anything for the treatment to take effect. If one accepts, as we argue here, that brain implants are unique among implantable types of devices, then this can have significant implications for what it means to persist as the same person and be the source of one's thoughts and actions. By examining two of the most common indications for DBS in current use, namely in the motor (Parkinson's Disease) and psychiatric (Major Depression) domains, we further argue that although DBS, as it is currently applied, does not necessarily represent a unique threat to personal identity and agency per se, it introduces an unprecedented ‘third party’ into the debate on these concepts. In this way, DBS can be used as a tool to begin probing, both conceptually and empirically, some of philosophy's most perennial metaphysical questions. (shrink)
The paper examines the status of conscious presentation with regard to mental content and intentional states. I argue that conscious presentation of mental content should be viewed on the model of a secondary quality, as a subjectiveeffect of the microstructure of an underlying brain state. The brain state is in turn viewed as the instantiation of an abstract computational state, with the result that introspectively accessible content is interpreted as a presentation of the associated computational state realized by the brain. (...) However, if the relation between consciousness and representational content is construed in this manner, then conscious presentation does not provide an adequate foundation for the claim that human mental states areintrinsically intentional. On this model, I argue that functionalism is able to account for (non-intrinsic) intentionality, but not for consciousness, which has implications for the computational paradigm, as well as for Searle's Chinese room thought experiment. (shrink)
Th e type identitytheory, according to which types of mental state are identical to types of physical state, fell out of favour for some years but is now being considered with renewed interest. Many philosophers are critically re-examining the arguments which were marshalled against it, fi nding in the type identitytheory both resources to strengthen a comprehensive, physicalistic metaphysics, and a useful tool in understanding the relationship between developments in psychology and new results in (...) neuroscience. Th is volume brings together leading philosophers of mind, whose essays challenge in new ways the standard objections to type identitytheory, such as the multiple realizability objection and the modal argument. Other essays show how cognitive science and neuroscience are lending new support to type identitytheory, and still others provide, extend and improve traditional arguments concerning the theory’s explanatory power. -/- Introduction Simone Gozzano and Christopher S. Hill; 1. Acquaintance and the mind-body problem Katalin Balog; 2. Identity, reduction, and conserved mechanisms: perspectives from circadian rhythm research William Bechtel; 3. Property identity and reductive explanation Ansgar Beckermann; 4. A brief history of neuroscience's actual influences on mind-brain reductionism John Bickle; 5. Type-identity conditions for phenomenal properties Simone Gozzano; 6. Locating qualia: do they reside in the brain or in the body and the world? Christopher S. Hill; 7. In defense of the identitytheory Mark I Frank Jackson; 8. The very idea of token physicalism Jaegwon Kim; 9. About face: philosophical naturalism, the heuristic identitytheory, and recent findings about prosopagnosia Robert McCauley; 10. On justifying neurobiologicalism for consciousness Brian McLaughlin; 11. The causal contribution of mental events Alyssa Ney; 12. Return of the zombies? John Perry; 13. Identity, variability, and multiple realization in the special sciences Lawrence Shapiro and Thomas Polger; Bibliography; Index. (shrink)
Quantum mechanics unites epistemology and ontology: it brings human knowledge explicitly into physical theory, and ties this knowledge into brain dynamics in a causally efficacious way. This development in science provides the basis for a natural resolution of the dualist functionalist controversy, which arises within the classical approach to the mind brain system from the fact that the phenomenal aspects are not derivable from the principles of classical mechanics. A conceptually simple causal quantum mechanical theory of the mind/brain (...) is described, and used to examine the necessity and function of consciousness in brain process. (shrink)
Functionalists in philosophy of mind traditionally raise two major arguments against the type identitytheory: (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 identitytheory which we call _heuristic identity theory_ (HIT) against both of these (...) objections. Drawing its inspiration from scientific practice, heuristic identitytheory construes identity claims as hypotheses that guide subsequent inquiry, not as conclusions of the research. (shrink)
One of the positive arguments for the type-identitytheory of mental states is an inference-to-the-best-explanation (IBE) argument, which purports to show that type-identitytheory is likely true since it is the best explanation for the correlations between mental states and brain states that we find in the neurosciences. But given the methods of neuroscience, there are other relations besides identity that can explain such correlations. I illustrate some of these relations by examining the literature on (...) the function of the hypothalamus and its correlation with sensations of thirst. Given that there are relations besides identity that can explain such correlations, the type-identity theorist is left with a dilemma: either the correlations we consider are weak, in which case we do not have an IBE to an identity claim, or else the correlations we look at are maximally strong, in which case there are too few cases for the inductive part of the strategy to work. (shrink)
James B. Ashbrook's "new natural theology in an empirical mode" pursued an integrated understanding of the spiritual, psychological, and neurological dimensions of spiritual life. Knowledge of neuroscience and personality theory was central to his quest, and his understandings were necessarily revised and amplified as scientific findings emerged. As a result, Ashbrook's legacy may serve as a case example of how to do religion-and-science in a milieu of scientific change. The constant in the quest was Ashbrook's core belief in the (...) basic holism of brain, mind, personality, the nature of reality, and the underlying reality of God. (shrink)