About this topic
Summary 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.
Key works The thesis is explicitly defended in seminal articles by Place 1956Feigl 1958Smart 1959. This is the early stage, when the thesis is understood as an empirical and contingent one. A powerful attack on this version is put forward by Kripke 1980.  The analytic identity thesis appears for the first time in Lewis 1970, then in Armstrong 1968. Criticism of this version appears appears in Nagel 1979Jackson 1982, and Chalmers 1996. Defences appear in Braddon-Mitchell 2003 and Jackson 2003. A more recent defence, based on probability theory, appears in Aranyosi 2011.  The empirical necessary identity thesis is defended, among others, by Loar 1990 and Papineau 2002. Criticism of this approach is to be found in Chalmers 1996 and Chalmers 2009.  The multiple realizability objection to all forms of the type identity theory can be found in Putnam 1963.
Introductions A 30-year retrospective of the transformations of the thesis appears in Place 1988. A more recent introduction to and history of the thesis appears in Smart 2007.
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495 found
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  1. Further Reflections on Mind-Body Identity.Raziel Abelson - 1971 - Journal of Critical Analysis 3 (3):111-112.
  2. A Refutation of Mind-Body Identity.Raziel Abelson - 1970 - Philosophical Studies 18 (December):85-90.
    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 (...)
  3. The Identity Hypothesis.Peter Achinstein - 1962 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 13 (50):167-171.
  4. Smart on Free-Will.Richard Acworth - 1963 - Mind 72 (286):271-272.
  5. Mind-Body Identity Theories.Frederick Adams - 1991 - Teaching Philosophy 14 (4):433-436.
  6. Properties, Functionalism, and the Identity Theory.Frederick R. Adams - unknown
  7. Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science. Vol. Ii: Concepts, Theories, and the Mind-Body Problem. Ed. H. Feigl, M. Scriven, G. Maxwell. [REVIEW]J. Agassi - 1959 - Mind 68:275.
  8. The Mind/Brain Identity Theory: A Critical Appraisal.Leslie Allan - manuscript
    The materialist version of the mind/brain identity theory has met with considerable challenges from philosophers of mind. The author first dispenses with a popular objection to the theory based on the law of indiscernibility of identicals. By means of discussing the vexatious problem of phenomenal qualities, he explores how the debate may be advanced by seeing each dualist and monist ontology through the lens of an evolutionary epistemology. The author suggests that by regarding each ontology as the core of a (...)
  9. Coupland and Gwyn's Collection on Discourse, Body, Identity.Gordon Alley-Young - 2005 - American Journal of Semiotics 21 (1/4):152-154.
  10. Nothing Comes Between Me and My CPU.M. Andrejevic - 2005 - Theory, Culture and Society 22 (3):101-119.
    The promise of interactivity is quietly but systematically undergoing a downgrade that will require a lot less activity on the part of the user – and a lot more on the dispersed ‘smart’ objects that will eventually populate their lives. This article reads the promotional literature on ‘smart’ clothes through the lens of Benjamin’s discussion of fetishism and flânerie, considering the ways in which such clothes provide a mobile form of bourgeois interiority: a ‘casing’ that allows the user to make (...)
  11. A New Argument for Mind-Brain Identity.István Aranyosi - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (3):489-517.
    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, (...)
  12. Reply to Smart.D. M. Armstrong - 2006 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (2):177 – 178.
  13. Review of U.T. Place, George Graham (Ed), Elizabeth R. Valentine (Ed), Identifying the Mind: Selected Papers of U.T. Place[REVIEW]D. M. Armstrong - 2004 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2004 (12).
  14. Epistemological Foundations for a Materialist Theory of Mind.David M. Armstrong - 1973 - Philosophy of Science 40 (June):178-93.
    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.
  15. The Headless Woman Illusion and the Defence of Materialism.David Malet Armstrong - 1968 - Analysis 29 (2):48--9.
    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 (...)
  16. Feigl and the Development of Analytic Philosophy at the University of Minnesota.Bruce Aune - manuscript
  17. Herbert Feigl.Bruce Aune - 1988 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988 (2):23 - 24.
  18. Feigl on the Mind-Body Problem.Bruce Aune - 1966 - In Paul K. Feyerabend & Grover Maxwell (eds.), Mind, Matter, and Method: Essays in Philosophy and Science in Honor of Herbert Feigl. University of Minnesota Press.
  19. Smart on Sensations.Kurt Baier - 1962 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 40 (1):57-68.
  20. Neither Brain nor Ghost: A Nondualist Alternative to the Mind-Brain Identity Theory.Steven Baldner - 2006 - Review of Metaphysics 60 (2):419-421.
  21. Mind, Matter and Method.P. K. Bastable - 1967 - Philosophical Studies 16:332-333.
  22. The Rejection of the Identity Thesis.George Bealer - 1994 - In The Mind-Body Problem: A Guide to the Current Debate. Cambridge: Blackwell.
    In this paper, the arguments against the mind-body identity thesis from the author’s [1994] paper, “Mental Properties,” are presented but in significantly more detail. It is shown that, because of scientific essentialism, two currently popular arguments against the 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 shown that a refutation of the identity thesis in its full generality can be achieved by weaving (...)
  23. Mental Properties.George Bealer - 1994 - Journal of Philosophy 91 (4):185-208.
    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 (...)
  24. Brain Wars: The Scientific Battle Over the Existence of the Mind and the Proof That Will Change the Way We Live Our Lives.Mario Beauregard - 2012 - Harperone.
  25. Heuristic Identity Theory (or Back to the Future): The Mind-Body Problem Against the Background of Research Strategies in Cognitive Neuroscience.William P. Bechtel & Robert N. McCauley - 1999 - In Martin Hahn & S. C. Stoness (eds.), Proceedings of the 21st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. Lawrence Erlbaum. pp. 67-72.
    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 (...)
  26. The Identity Hypothesis: A Critique.John Beloff - 1965 - In J. R. Smythies (ed.), Brain and Mind. Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  27. Spinoza's Mind-Body Identity Thesis.Jonathan Bennett - 1981 - Journal of Philosophy 78 (10):573-584.
  28. Spinosa's Mind-Body Identity Thesis.Jonathan Bennett - 1981 - Journal of Philosophy 78 (10):573-584.
  29. Consciousness, Big Science and Conceptual Clarity.Ned Block - 2014 - In Gary Marcus & Jeremy Freeman (eds.), in The Future of the Brain: Essays by the World’s Leading Neuroscientists. Princeton University Press. pp. 161-176.
  30. Get Smart.Paul Bloom - 2002 - In Robert J. Sternberg & J. Kaufman (eds.), The Evolution of Intelligence. Lawrence Erlbaum. pp. 359--367.
  31. Phenomenal Properties and the Identity Theory.J.-B. Blumenfeld - 1985 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 63 (4):485-93.
  32. Does Every Smart Boy Have a Smart Sister?Dorret I. Boomsma - 1990 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (1):192.
  33. Mind-Brain Puzzle Versus Mind-Physical World Identity.David A. Booth - 1978 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1 (3):348-349.
    To maintain my neutral monist or multi-aspect view of human reality (or indeed to defend the Cartesian dualism assumed by Puccetti & Dykes, it is wrong to relate the mind to the brain alone. A person's mind should be related to the physical environment, including the body, in addition to the brain. Furthermore, we are unlikely to understand the detailed functioning of an individual brain without knowing the history of its interactions with the external and internal environments during that person's (...)
  34. The Control of Attitude in Psycho-Physical Experiments.E. G. Boring - 1920 - Psychological Review 27 (6):440-452.
  35. The Mind/Brain Identity Theory.Clive V. Borst (ed.) - 1970 - Macmillan.
  36. The Mind-Brain Identity Theory: A Collection of Papers.Clive Vernon Borst - 1970 - New York: St Martin's P..
    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 (...)
  37. The Mind-Body Identity Thesis.Gordon Lee Bowie - 1971 - Dissertation, Stanford University
  38. Two Arguments Against the Identity Thesis.M. C. Bradley - 1969 - In Robert Brown & C.D. Rollins (eds.), Contemporary Philosophy In Australia. London: Allen & Unwin.
  39. Sensations, Brain-Processes, and Colours.M. C. Bradley - 1963 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 41 (3):385-93.
  40. Doubts About the Identity Theory.R. Brandt - 1960 - In Sidney Hook (ed.), Dimensions of Mind. New York University Press.
  41. The Logic of the Identity Theory.Richard Brandt & Jaegwon Kim - 1967 - Journal of Philosophy 64 (17):515.
  42. Levels of Explanation and the Individuation of Events: A Difficulty for the Token Identity Theory.Bill Brewer - 1998 - Acta Analytica 20 (20):7-24.
    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 (...)
  43. Mental and Physical: Identity Versus Sameness.May Brodbeck - 1966 - In Paul K. Feyerabend & Grover Maxwell (eds.), Mind, Matter, and Method: Essays in Philosophy and Science in Honor of Herbert Feigl. University of Minnesota Press.
  44. Mind and Brain: A Contribution From Microgenetic Theory.Jason Brown - 2014 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 21 (1-2):54-73.
    Study of symptoms with focal brain lesions reveals a microtemporal transition that elaborates the mind/brain state. The pattern of this transition corresponds with that of developmental growth , which can be characterized in terms of whole-part relations. This correspondence is interpreted as indicating that the cognitive process is an extension of growth trends in pre- and post-natal life. The continuum of ontogenetic growth into the cognitive process is a transition from exuberance of form to specificity or from generality to precision, (...)
  45. Saying 'I Do' to Identity.Richard Brown - manuscript
    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 (...)
  46. Deprioritizing the A Priori Arguments Against Physicalism.Richard Brown - 2010 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (3-4):47-69.
    In this paper I argue that a priori arguments fail to present any real problem for physicalism. They beg the question against physicalism in the sense that the argument will only seem compelling if one is already assuming that qualitative properties are nonphysical. To show this I will present the reverse-zombie and reverse-knowledge arguments. The only evidence against physicalism is a priori arguments, but there are also a priori arguments against dualism of exactly the same variety. Each of these parity (...)
  47. Contemporary Philosophy in Australia.Robert Brown - 1969 - New York: Humanities P..
    First published in 2002. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
  48. Harold R. Smart 4 May 1892 - 22 November 1979.Stuart M. Brown - 1980 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 53 (3):389 - 390.
  49. Readings in the Philosophy of Science. Ed. H. Feigl and M. Brodbeck. [REVIEW]G. Buchdahl - 1957 - Mind 66:411.
  50. Smart Grid: Communication-Enabled Intelligence for the Electric Power Grid.Stephen F. Bush - 2014 - Wiley-Ieee Press.
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