The Mind-Brain Identity Theory
Borst (C.V.), Ed.
This Page provides (where held) the Abstract of the above Book and those of all the Papers contained in it.
Colour-ConventionsDisclaimerBooks / Papers Citing this BookNotes Citing this Book

BOOK ABSTRACT:

Back Cover Blurb

  1. This book consists of a collection of papers on the most recent philosophical theory concerning the mind-body problem commonly known as the Identity Theory, together with an introductory essay.
  2. All the papers have been previously published and are reprinted here in their original form or with very minor changes.
  3. The exceptions are ‘Illusions and Identity', which has been rewritten for the present volume, and 'Physicalism', to which a postscript has been added.
  4. The key notion which has seemed to its proponents to make an identity theory viable despite long-standing and familiar objections is that of contingent or factual identity1. The identity is put forward on the basis of scientific discoveries and projected discoveries rather than on logical or straightforwardly philosophical grounds.
  5. The philosophical task is seen as consisting of the attempt to provide acceptable models for the proposed mental-state – brain-process identifications and generally to demonstrate freedom from logical incoherence.
  6. Several alternative versions of the theory are represented, but while its proponents show firm conviction that their position is tenable other contributions illustrate that this conviction is by no means universally shared.
  7. Controversy centres around such issues as whether it is intelligible to say that mental states are spatially located, whether first-person reports of mental states could be overruled by scientific observations of the brain, whether explanations of the occurrence of mental events could always be reduced to explanations of the physical sciences, whether viable models of the proposed identity can be found from other spheres.
  8. Since the theory under discussion dates only from the mid-1950's it has been possible to display a large proportion of the major contributions on the topic. The aim has been to provide the main variants of the theory – represented by the papers of Feigl, Place, Smart, Armstrong and Feyerabend – and as many of the responses to these as possible without undue duplication of the more technical papers.
  9. Most radically, some opponents – Malcolm for example – contend that the theory is unintelligible or that, as Stevenson argues in response to Smart’s paper, the appearance of having successfully eliminated irreducibly non-physical items is deceptive.
  10. C. V. Borst was Assistant Lecturer in Philosophy at Queen's University, Belfast, from 1963 to 1964. He is currently Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Keele.

BOOK COMMENT:

Macmillan, St. Martin's Press, 1970. Paperback.



"Armstrong (David) - The Nature of Mind"

Source: Block - Readings in Philosophy of Psychology - Vol 1


Author’s Introduction
    It is suggested that it is possible to give an analysis of the mental concepts as states of the person apt for producing certain ranges of behaviour. This analysis leaves it open what the concrete nature of the states is. But scientific considerations made it plausible that these states are purely physical states of the central nervous system. Special attention is given to the concept of consciousness, which is argued to be perception of our own mental state.


COMMENT: Also in "Borst (C.V.), Ed. - The Mind-Brain Identity Theory"



"Baier (Kurt) - Smart on Sensations"

Source: Borst - The Mind-Brain Identity Theory



"Borst (C.V.) - The Mind-Brain Identity Theory: Editor's Introduction"

Source: Borst - The Mind-Brain Identity Theory



"Coburn (Robert) - Shaffer on the Identity of Mental States and Brain Processes"

Source: Borst - The Mind-Brain Identity Theory



"Cornman (James) - The Identity of Mind and Body"

Source: Borst - The Mind-Brain Identity Theory


Philosophers Index Abstract
  1. The paper first argues that the problem expressed by the sentence, "could mental states be brain processes" is not simply an empirical matter but involves a central conceptual problem.
  2. It next argues for the conclusion that there is a conceptual problem for any version of the identity theory, namely that since brain processes and mental states each have properties not truly attributable to the other, then – by Leibniz's principle – they are not the same.
  3. Finally, the paper proposes a way to avoid this conclusion by arguing that application of Leibniz's principle is unwarranted whenever its application involves a category mistake.


COMMENT: Also in "Rosenthal (David), Ed. - Materialism and the Mind-Body Problem".



"Feigl (Herbert) - Mind-body, not a Pseudo-problem"

Source: Borst - The Mind-Brain Identity Theory



"Feyerabend (Paul) - Comment: 'Mental Events and the Brain'"

Source: Borst - The Mind-Brain Identity Theory



"Feyerabend (Paul) - Materialism and the Mind-body Problem"

Source: Feyerabend - Philosophical Papers Vol 1: Realism, Rationalism and Scientific Method


Philosophers Index Abstract
    Maintaining that the proper task of philosophy is to encourage the invention and refinement of new theories, the author defends materialism against three popular arguments. The first holds that materialism is inconsistent with ordinary usage and so cannot meaningfully be applied to human beings; the second argues from observation that thoughts are not material processes; the third asserts that people are directly acquainted with their own mental experiences. The author examines the logic and motivation of these arguments and concludes there is no reason to abandon the attempt to give a purely physiological account of human beings. (Staff)


COMMENT: Also in "Borst (C.V.), Ed. - The Mind-Brain Identity Theory"



"Hinton (J.M.) - Illusions and Identity"

Source: Borst - The Mind-Brain Identity Theory



"Malcolm (Norman) - Rejoinder to Mr. Sosa"

Source: Borst - The Mind-Brain Identity Theory



"Malcolm (Norman) - Scientific Materialism and the Identity Theory"

Source: Borst - The Mind-Brain Identity Theory



"Nagel (Thomas) - Physicalism"

Source: Borst - The Mind-Brain Identity Theory
COMMENT:
  • Originally in Philosophical Review, Vol. 74, No. 3, Jul., 1965, pp. 339-356
  • Also in "Rosenthal (David), Ed. - Materialism and the Mind-Body Problem"
  • Both anthologised versions include a Postscript from November 1968
  • This Postscript is on the logic of identity1 - or the type of identity used in the context of "mind-brain identity". Nagel claims that "theoretical identity" is - contra the body of his paper - the same as "strict identity".



"Place (U.T.) - Is Consciousness a Brain Process?"

Source: Lycan - Mind and Cognition - An Anthology


Abstract
  1. The thesis that consciousness is a process in the brain is put forward as a reasonable scientific hypothesis, not to be dismissed on logical grounds alone.
  2. The conditions under which two sets of observations are treated as observations of same process, rather than as observations of two independent correlated processes, are discussed.
  3. It is suggested that we can identify consciousness with a given pattern of brain activity, if we can explain subject's introspective observations by reference to brain processes with which they are correlated.
  4. It is argued that problem of providing a physiological explanation of introspective observations is made to seem more difficult than it really is by the ‘phenomenological fallacy’, the mistaken idea that descriptions of appearances of things are descriptions of actual state of affairs in a mysterious internal environment.


COMMENT:



"Place (U.T.) - Materialism as a Scientific Hypothesis"

Source: Borst - The Mind-Brain Identity Theory



"Rorty (Richard) - Mind-Body Identity, Privacy, and Categories"

Source: Borst - The Mind-Brain Identity Theory
COMMENT: Also in:-



"Shaffer (Jerome) - Could Mental States be Brain Processes?"

Source: Borst - The Mind-Brain Identity Theory



"Shaffer (Jerome) - Mental Events and the Brain"

Source: Rosenthal - The Nature of Mind


Philosophers Index Abstract
  1. It is first shown that J J C Smart's account of the meaning of reports of sensations in terms of physical stimulus conditions is defective.
  2. It is then argued that no such materialistic manoeuvring can succeed, showing that we cannot avoid admitting the existence of nonphysical properties. However, it is added that these nonphysical properties need not be irreducibly different from physical properties.
  3. The remainder of the paper is concerned, first, to defend the proposition that a convention could be adopted for locating mental events in the brain and, then, to describe conditions under which the identity theory is empirically refuted.


COMMENT:



"Smart (J.C.C.) - Brain Processes and Incorrigibility"

Source: Borst - The Mind-Brain Identity Theory



"Smart (J.C.C.) - Further Remarks on Sensations and Brain Processes"

Source: Borst - The Mind-Brain Identity Theory
COMMENT: A follow-up to "Smart (J.C.C.) - Sensations and Brain Processes".



"Smart (J.C.C.) - Materialism"

Source: Borst - The Mind-Brain Identity Theory



"Smart (J.C.C.) - Sensations and Brain Processes"

Source: Rosenthal - The Nature of Mind
COMMENT:



"Sosa (Ernest) - Professor Malcolm on 'Scientific Materialism and the Identity Theory'"

Source: Borst - The Mind-Brain Identity Theory



"Stevenson (J.T.) - 'Sensations and Brain Processes': A Reply to J.J.C. Smart"

Source: Borst - The Mind-Brain Identity Theory
COMMENT: A reply to "Smart (J.C.C.) - Sensations and Brain Processes".



"Taylor (Charles) - Mind-Body Identity, a Side Issue?"

Source: Borst - The Mind-Brain Identity Theory



Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2021
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



© Theo Todman, June 2007 - Jan 2021. Please address any comments on this page to theo@theotodman.com. File output:
Website Maintenance Dashboard
Return to Top of this Page Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page Return to Theo Todman's Home Page