Mind Brain Identity Thesis

To put it in perspective, since the idea that a thought might be reduced to a few neurons doesn't seem too odd, a CSM would have to hold that the phenomena known as 'loving one's parents' can be similarly reduced to certain material phenomena in the CNS.Note that CSM says nothing about what it means to love one's parents, nor what it is like to have that experience; it is simply a statement of fact, that that is the ontology of the experience.In this case, one either draws up an extremely long, comprehensive list of possible mental-brain states, or one admits token-token identity theory.

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Identity theory is a kind of materialism developed as a reaction to work in psychology and the physical sciences in the mid 20th century.

It essentially boils down to these statements: 1) Minds are identical to brains 2) Mental states are identical to brain states 3) The realm of the mental is a subset of the realm of the physical Proponents of this theory state that this claim is a contingent fact about the nature of the mind and the brain; it makes no attempt to explain the refer to exactly the same thing, i.e.

For example, if one part of my brain is damaged, my brain will often route around this problem, resulting into two different brain states for ostensibly the same mental state.

The context of a mental state also seems important, since the mental state of an experience of red may result in an entirely different brain state if I am feeling hot or cold (not least because of the related symbolism).

Generally, necessary facts are deemed to be a priori, and so discoverable through study of language, e.g.

"one plus one equals two", or "a bachelor is an unmarried man".

Realisibility and species problems Obviously, humans aren't the only species that can realise consciousness and therefore mental states.

Given that this is the case, type-type identity theory must either be rejected or become species-specific.

This in itself seems like a shortcoming, since if we are to reduce all mental concepts to physical concepts and in doing so demonstrate that they are identical, surely we must be able to provide physical explanations or descriptions for concepts like 'what it is like to love one's parents'?

A CSM might reply that one can say simply that what it is like can again be explained in terms of the CNS states and processes that are identified with the sensations caused by the experience; that an explanation of what it is like to experience mental state X and what that mental state X is are different needn't invalidate CSM, since we can find parallels in everyday language that we find unobjectionable.


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