The Metaphysics of Mind-Body Identity Theories
Epstein (Fanny L.)
Source: American Philosophical Quarterly, 10, 1973, pp. 111-121
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    The article is an attempt to uncover the metaphysical assumptions implicit in the otherwise highly scientific contemporary identity theories. 1) The identity statement, being a philosophical interpretation of dualistic psychophysical correspondence, requires for its support a justificatory ontological or linguistic premise. 2) The conception of the mental as the hidden, unobservable, subjective and private is a metaphysical distortion with historical roots in an empiricist and positivist interpretation of the cartesian dichotomy of thinking and extended thing. 3) Acceptance of an artificial dichotomy and reliance on a narrow conceptual framework lead identity theorists to misrepresent the nature of the mental-physical relation and to see ontological reductionism as the only solution. 4) Alternative explanations are possible which bypass the shortcomings mentioned and propose the irreducibility of mind to body without postulating a dualistic ontology; merleau-ponty's and wittgenstein's theories are good examples of an ontological monism which allows for the reality and meaningfulness of the mental within the scope of the physical. (Edited).

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