- In the final pages of Naming and Necessity Kripke offers an argument against mind-brain identity theories. It runs like this.
- Identity theorists make claims like 'pain = C-fibre stimulation'. These claims must be necessary if true, given that terms like 'pain' and 'C-fibre stimulation' are rigid. Yet there is no doubt that such claims appear contingent. It certainly seems that there could have been C-fibre stimulation without pains or vice versa. So identity theorists owe us an explanation of why such claims should appear contingent if they are in fact necessary.
- One model for such an explanation would be the story we use to explain why scientific identity claims like 'heat = molecular motion' appear contingent. In that case we can say that this appearance of contingency is due to our recognition of the genuine possibility that molecular motion might not have been felt as heat. However this won't work in the mind-brain case. There is no corresponding possibility that C-fibre stimulation might not have been felt as pain, if pain is in fact C-fibre stimulation. Pains can't be pulled apart from their appearance, in the way that heat can. A situation in which C-fibre stimulation isn't felt as pain is a situation which lacks pain, not just the appearance of pain. And this possibility – of C-fibre stimulation without pain – is inconsistent with the identity theorist's insistence that pain is C-fibre stimulation.
- Given that no other explanation of the apparent contingency of 'pain = C-fibre stimulation' offers itself, identity theorists have no option but to accept that this claim is not necessary after all, and so not true.'
- This paper will first focus on the correct exegesis of this argument and will then consider what substantial points it establishes.
Footnote 1: Entitled “Kripke’s Argument”
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