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Chapter 3

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York University
PHIL 2240
Brandon Fenton

3.1 A brief Historical Background  Mental events are just brain events  Everything is purely material or physical - exemplifies materialism  Everything is evanescent  Martial monism 3.2 What the identity theory does and does not claim  Not saying talk about mental states had the same meaning as talk about brain states  Pain is not synonymous with C-fibers firing  Not like all: trilaterals are identical with three-sided figures (trilaterals are three-sided figures,  This is analytically true (necessarily true by virtue of the meaning of the terms it contains and can never be false)  Analytical reduction, rendering without any loss of meaning 3.3 Avoiding initial objections to the identity theory  Identity they are asserting is not an analytic one  The non-synonymy of expressions flanking an identity sign does not automatically rule out the true of the identity claim  Ex) The reporter who works with Lois Lane at the Daily Planet‟ does not mean the same as „the man of steel‟, but the reporter and the man of steel are identical, one and the same  Talking about brain and mental state differently, but talking about the same events, with different vocabularies  Appears we know different sets of facts about two different streams of events, but they relate to a single reality describable in both mental and physical terms 3.4 The type-type identity theory  Each type of mental state will be identical with a given type of brain state  What type of brain state will be identical with being in pain cannot be specified in advance  Ex) water (type of phenomenon) is identical with H2O (type of phenomenon) 3.5 The type-type identity theory and reductionism  Reasonable to believe that events that full under a given type of mental description must always also fall under the same type of physical description  M obtains if, and only B obtains  What we should expect if M is identical with B  Mental and brain states  Ex) water is only found only if, and only if H2O is found in the same place  Ontological reduction – one group of phenomena that are apparently numerically different from another group of phenomena turn out to be just one set of existents and not two  If and only if is known as a bi-conditional (contains two if‟s)  Mental concepts will remain non-synonymous with physical concepts but the apparently different classes of property, mental and physical, which fall under each type of concept respectively, will turn out to be but a single class of property describable by means of two different vocabularies  Painfulness of a pain is identical, for example, is identical with the behaviour of certain sorts of neurons in the central nervous system, even though talk about pains is not equivalent it 3.6 The token-token identity theory and the multiple realizability thesis  Could pain be identical with a different type of physical state  Mental states could be multiply realized, embodied in all different sorts of material arrangement  Token-token theory took this and developed a major criticism to type-type theory  Ex of watches) every watch will be identical with some physical arrangement of parts, but not every token of the type watch must be identical with a token of exactly the same type and arrangement of parts  Come in variety  Example of stroke victims, part of the brain is damaged and then another part gradually takes over the lost parts – strong argument against type-type  Could apply to thoughts  Could be c-fibers or z-fibers that that fire when have a thought about a cat, for example  Type-type is also unnecessarily restrictive  Chauvinism – that the mind can only manifest in human brains  Response is that restrict scope, so a particular version of it is envisaged to obtain only within a given species  But must it be restricted to a certain type of neurons activated for a certain though  Token-token seems more plausible then type-type 3.7 Strengths of the identity theory  1. Simple theory – mental states are brain states  Unlike dualism (posit both material and immaterial substances), and property dualism (postulate both non-physical and physical properties), only needs physical things and physical properties  2. Descartes problem of the mind affecting the body is gone  Do not fully understand physical to physical causality, but exempted from explicating how a non-physical substance with no dimensions could have an effect on matter  3. Able to understand instantly why changes in the brain owing to injury (for whatever reason) are accompanied by alterations I mental functioning  Altering the brain is altering the mind because the mind is just the brain  Explain why increasing complexity and brain size correspond with sophistication of intellect, mental life from an evolutionary scale 3.8 Problems for the identity theory  3.8.1 The mental and the spatial  Inspiration from Descartes  World divided into 2 categories:  Res Extensa – extended, space-occupying things  Res cogitans – the domain of non-extended conscious things  Can‟t say emotions have a location, or beliefs, feelings  Therefore, mental states cannot be identified with brain process  Based on misunderstanding of the ontological status of mental items cited  By characterizing with noun-like expressions think of mental states as logical substances (they are not)  Can state where they occurred in the physical world (I was in bed when I felt pain from my knee)  There exists an individual entity, in a condition of being in pain (me)  3.8.2 The symmetry of identity statements  If A is identical to B then B is identical to A  Because identity is symmetrical cannot argue that water is really H2O but H2O isn‟t really water  rather than favouring one side of identity relation and reducing the mind to the brain or vice versa, must acknowledge if mental events are brain processes, they must have physical properties that brain events have, but by the symmetry of identity that brain events have mental properties, which they are identical  but we are dealing with one distinct stream of events, therefore avoiding dualism of substances  Evolution is reason for privileging the physical  Suggests one sided dependence  there must be brain states that have nothing to do with consciousness, ex) those governing nervous system  Possess only physical properties, but must possess mental ones, or the identity of brain processes with mental processes could not be asserted  Can escape dualism of substances, but not of properties  Changes in mental life are impacting by physical events: that possess both, mental and physical properties  3.8.3 Qualia, privileged
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