Identity thesis physicalism

Background[ edit ] According to U. Place[1] one of the popularizers of the idea of type-identity in the s and s, the idea of type-identity physicalism originated in the s with the psychologist E.

Identity thesis physicalism

Identity thesis physicalism and Further Reading 1. Early Versions of the Theory Place accepted the Logical Behaviorists' dispositional analysis of cognitive and volitional concepts. With respect to those mental concepts "clustering around the notions of consciousness, experience, sensation, and mental imagery," however, he held that no behavioristic account even in terms of unfulfilled dispositions to behave would suffice.

Seeking an alternative to the classic dualist positionaccording to which mental states possess an ontology distinct from the physiological states with which they are thought to be correlated, Place claimed that sensations and the like might very well be processes in the brain—despite the fact that statements about the former cannot be logically analyzed into statements about the latter.

Drawing an analogy with such scientifically verifiable and obviously contingent statements as "Lightning is a motion of electric charges," Place cited potential explanatory power as the reason for hypothesizing consciousness-brain state relations in terms of identity rather than mere correlation.

Identity thesis physicalism

This still left the problem of explaining introspective reports in terms of brain processes, since these reports for example, of a green after-image typically make reference to entities which do not fit with the physicalist picture there is nothing green in the brain, for example.

To solve this problem, Place called attention to the "phenomenological fallacy "—the mistaken assumption that one's introspective observations Identity thesis physicalism "the actual state of affairs in some mysterious internal environment.

Mind-Body Identity Theory is the idea that the mind is just a part of the physical body. This is known as "non-redcutive physicalism." The identity thesis which I wish to clarify and to defend asserts that the states of direct experience which conscious beings "live through" and those which we confidently ascribe to some of the higher. The most straightforward version of physicalism is the identity thesis—the theory that every type of mental state is identical to some type of physical state (Reasons and Responsibility, ). Dualists and physicalists have disputed over the validity of the identity thesis; dualists denying its claim and physicalists defending it. The identity-thesis is a version of physicalism: it holds that all mental states and events are in fact physical states and events. But it is not, of course, a thesis .

At least in the beginning, J. Place in applying the Identity Theory only to those mental concepts considered resistant to behaviorist treatment, notably sensations. Because of the proposed identification of sensations with states of the central nervous system, this limited version of Mind-Brain Type Identity also became known as Central-State Materialism.

Smart's main concern was the analysis of sensation-reports e.

The Mind/Brain Identity Theory (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Where Smart diverged from Place was in the explanation he gave for adopting the thesis that sensations are processes in the brain. According to Smart"there is no conceivable experiment which could decide between materialism and epiphenomenalism " where the latter is understood as a species of dualism ; the statement "sensations are brain processes," therefore, is not a straight-out scientific hypothesis, but should be adopted on other grounds.

Occam's razor is cited in support of the claim that, even if the brain-process theory and dualism are equally consistent with the empirical facts, the former has an edge in virtue of its simplicity and explanatory utility. Occam's razor also plays a role in the version of Mind-Brain Type Identity developed by Feigl in fact, Smart claimed to have been influenced by Feigl as well as by Place.

On the epiphenomenalist picture, in addition to the normal physical laws of cause and effect there are psychophysical laws positing mental effects which do not by themselves function as causes for any observable behavior. In Feigl's view, such "nomological danglers" have no place in a respectable ontology; thus, epiphenomenalism again considered as a species of dualism should be rejected in favor of an alternative, monistic theory of mind-body relations.

Feigl's suggestion was to interpret the empirically ascertainable correlations between phenomenal experiences "raw feels," see Consciousness and Qualia and neurophysiological processes in terms of contingent identity: Besides eliminating dangling causal laws, Feigl's picture is intended to simplify our conception of the world: Adopting straight away the scientific view that humans are nothing more than physico-chemical mechanisms, he declared that the task for philosophy is to work out an account of the mind which is compatible with this view.

Identity thesis physicalism

Already the seeds were sown for an Identity Theory which covers all of our mental concepts, not merely those which fit but awkwardly on the Behaviorist picture. Armstrong actually gave credit to the Behaviorists for logically connecting internal mental states with external behavior; where they went wrong, he argued, was in identifying the two realms.

His own suggestion was that it makes a lot more sense to define the mental not as behavior, but rather as the inner causes of behavior. Thus, "we reach the conception of a mental state as a state of the person apt for producing certain ranges of behavior.

The fact that Smart himself now holds that all mental states are brain states of course, the reverse need not be truetestifies to the influence of Armstrong's theory. Besides the so-called "translation" versions of Mind-Brain Type Identity advanced by Place, Smart, and Armstrong, according to which our mental concepts are first supposed to be translated into topic-neutral language, and the related version put forward by Feigl, there are also "disappearance" or "replacement" versions.

As initially outlined by Paul Feyerabendthis kind of Identity Theory actually favors doing away with our present mental concepts. The primary motivation for such a radical proposal is as follows: Different philosophers took this proposal to imply different things.

Some advocated a wholesale scrapping of our ordinary language descriptions of mental states, such that, down the road, people might develop a whole new and vastly more accurate vocabulary to describe their own and others' states of mind. This begs the question, of course, what such a new-and-improved vocabulary would look like.

Responding to Feyerabend, a number of philosophers expressed concern about the appropriateness of classifying disappearance versions as theories of Mind-Brain Type Identity. But Richard Rorty answered this concern, arguing that there is nothing wrong with claiming that "what people now call 'sensations' are identical with certain brain processes.

Traditional Objections A number of objections to Mind-Brain Type Identity, some a great deal stronger than others, began circulating soon after the publication of Smart's article.

Perhaps the weakest were those of the epistemological variety. It has been claimed, for example, that because people have had and still do have knowledge of specific mental states while remaining ignorant as to the physical states with which they are correlated, the former could not possibly be identical with the latter.

The obvious response to this type of objection is to call attention to the contingent nature of the proposed identities—of course we have different conceptions of mental states and their correlated brain states, or no conception of the latter at all, but that is just because as Feigl made perfectly clear the language we use to describe them have different meanings.The most straightforward version of physicalism is the identity thesis—the theory that every type of mental state is identical to some type of physical state (Reasons and Responsibility, ).

Dualists and physicalists have disputed over the validity of the identity thesis; dualists denying its claim and physicalists defending it.

In philosophy, physicalism is the metaphysical thesis that "everything is physical", that there is "nothing over and above" the physical, or that everything supervenes on the physical. Identity theory is a family of views on the relationship between mind and body. Type Identity theories hold that at least some types (or kinds, or classes) of mental states are, as a matter of contingent fact, literally identical with some types (or kinds, or classes) of brain states.

The earliest. Identity Theory Identity theory is a family of views on the relationship between mind and body. Type Identity theories hold that at least some types (or kinds, or classes) of mental states are, as a matter of contingent fact, literally identical with some types (or kinds, or classes) of brain states.

Mind-Body Identity Theory is the idea that the mind is just a part of the physical body.

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This is known as "non-redcutive physicalism." Information Philosophy rejects the Identity Thesis. In taking the identity theory (in its various forms) as a species of physicalism, I should say that this is an ontological, not a translational physicalism.

It would be absurd to try to translate sentences containing the word ‘brain’ or the word ‘sensation’ into sentences about electrons, protons and so on.

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