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Flashcards in Identity Theory Deck (22)
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What are mental properties according to MBIT?

Physical properties


What does type identity claim about mental events

Types of mental event are identical to types of physical event


What would be going on if 10 people visited the dentist with toothache?!?

They would each be experiencing the same type of mental event, which would be identical to a physical event, such as c-fibres firing.


What kind of reduction does MBIT support?



What does ontological reduction involve?!??!?

Claiming that things in one domain are identical to things in another domain


Evidence for ID theory?

Neuroscience - neural dependence


How does token identity theory differ from type?

It does not claim that mental events are identical to any type of brain event.


What happens when a mental 'token' occurs?

It occurs with, and because of, a certain physical event; they are one and the same event.


Why can snails, ducks, and humans all be in pain?

Multiple realisability!


What does JJC Smart say about MBIT?

To report a sensation is to support a brain state. It is consistent with Occam's razor, because it eliminates nomological danglers.


What are the arguments in favour of identity theory?

Neural dependence, mind-body interaction, Occam's razor


What are the key problems with identity theory?

Irreducibility of qualia (Frank Jackson's knowledge argument), Leibniz' Law, The Conceivability Argument.


Why is qualia irreducible?

Qualia are the 'what it is like' properties of experience. It is unclear how these subjective, phenomenal properties can be reduced to objective properties of the physical brain.


Explain Frank Jackson's Knowledge Argument

Jackson's argument asserts that a colour-blind neuroscientist would acquire new knowledge after seeing colour for the first time. This refutes the physicalist thesis, by pointing out that there are non-physical facts.


What is the first response to the knowledge argument?

The ability hypothesis


Explain the ability hypothesis

Lewis and Nemirow claim that Mary does learn what it is like to see red. But this is ability knowledge. She gains the ability to remember, imagine, recognise - but that is all.


How does Jackson respond to the ability hypothesis?

Jackson responds that Mary might have been to a conference about scepticism about other minds.

She might believe, after seeing red, that she now knows what other's experiences are like. But then she might suddenly worry that she is wrong.

She obviously isn't worrying about her abilities. She must be worrying about her knowledge, the actual content of her mind.


What is the Conceivability argument?

In its simplest form, the zombie argument is as follows.

1. Zombies are conceivable
2.that which is conceivable is possible.
3. Therefore zombies are logically possible.


How does the Conceivability argument challenge physicalism?

If there is a possible world in which all the physical facts are identical, but consciousness is absent, consciousness must be some additional, non-physical fact. Otherwise the relationship would not be contingent.


Response to the zombie argument

Functionalist respond that zombies would satisfy all the functional conditions for consciousness. It therefore entails the impossibility of zombies.

Dennet, similarly, point out that zombies are simply not conceivable. A being which appeared to be conscious would have to be conscious - behaviour cannot be separated from consciousness any more than health can be separated from physiological functions.


How does Leibniz' Law challenge identity theory?

Leibniz Law claims that a is identical to b only if every property of a is a property of b.

Descartes claimed that the mind has distinct properties to the body, and therefore the two cannot be identical.


Response to Leibniz' Law

The masked man fallacy - properties involving psychological processes should not be used in conjunction with Leibniz Law. For example, I might believe that the masked man robbed the bank, and I might believe that the masked man is not my father - but my beliefs could be mistaken about these properties.