Mind-Brain Type Identity Theory

  • Created by: Elena.S
  • Created on: 07-05-17 15:29

Define mind-brain type identity theory (3)

  • key thinker: Smart
  • mental states are identical to brain states; the mind is simply part of the body; what happens in the mind happens in the brain
1 of 5

Types and tokens (3)

  • type: a certain kind of thing i.e cards in a pack of cards
  • token: an instance of a thing i.e 52 tokens of cards in a pack of cards
2 of 5

Define identity (3)

  • Smart: mental states are identical to brain states
  • Leibniz's principle of the indiscrenibility of identicals (if all of A's properties are identical to B's properties, A and B are identical and indiscernible)
  • all of the mental state's properties are also the brain state's properties
3 of 5

Smart's M-BTI theory (5)

  • "that everything should be explicable in terms of physics... except the occuranc of sensations (mental states) seems to be me to be frankly unbelievable"
  • attempt to reduce mental states ontologically to brain states
  • "sensations are nothing over and above brain processes. Nations are nothing "over and above" citizens, but this does not prevent the logic of nations statements being very different from the logic of citizen statements, nor does it insure the translatability of nation statements into citizen statements"
  • mental states are identical to brain states but we cannot talk/understand mental states in the same way we understand brain states
4 of 5

Issues with the M-BTI theory (12)

1) dualist arguments

  • Conceivability argument: possible to have a mental state without brain state so therefore brain states ≠ mental states
  • Smart: Ockham's Razor - view of mental states being independent of brain states isn't falsifiable and it's just more plausible that they are identical

2) multiple realisability of mental states
P1 - M-BTI theory requires that mental state (M1) is identical to type of brain state (B1)
P2 - possible for being with different brain state (B2) to experience M1
C - therefore M1 cannot be identical to B1

3) location problem

  • it is not clear where mental states are located, presumably they would share locations with brain states to be identical but it appears they don't have a physical location
  • Smart: language developed in dualist framework so materialist sentences don't make sense; we should adjust language or accept peculiarity as irrelevant to theory
5 of 5


No comments have yet been made

Similar Philosophy resources:

See all Philosophy resources »See all Philosophy of the Mind resources »