PHL100Y1 the nature of mental states

PHL100Y1 the nature of mental states - The Nature of Mental...

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The Nature of Mental States
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Hilary Putnam criticizes the Identity Theory, which identifies mental states with brain states. The premise Putnam offers is also an identity theory in a sense in that it distinguishes mental states from functional states of the system or organism. However the "Identity Theory", refers merely to a Smart-like theory; a type-type identity theory, stating that mental types are reducible to physical types, which is also recognized as Materialism 1 . The question which can be asked is that of, if functionalism is a type-type identity theory. Even though it diminishes mental types to functional types, the type-type refers to the connection linking mental states and physical states and for that reason it is not a type-type theory. Functionalism subsequently, is a type-token theory of the mind body dilemma. The functional state of a structure is represented physically, a functional state is just a physical state of sorts but it need not be the identical physical state every time a being is in the equivalent functional state, and this is the benefit of functionalism above materialism 2 . Hilary Putnam's dispute acts as a serious threat to type-type theories and for this reason gets right to the center of the issue. Putnam does not discharge Smart’s identity theory on deductive grounds. In reality, he debates about numerous possible oppositions to this theory. Nevertheless he concludes that another theory clarifies the connection between mind and body in a way that is more reasonable 3 . According to Putnam, identity theory necessitates us to recognize a few statements about the real world that is not per se unfeasible, but relatively improbable. 1 Putnam, Hilary. Philosophical Papers: Volume 2, Mind, Language and Reality . 2. Cambridge University Press, 1979. Print. 2 Putnam, Hilary. Philosophical Papers: Volume 2, Mind, Language and Reality . 2. Cambridge University Press, 1979. Print. 3 Smart, J.J.C. Philosophy and Scientific Realism . Routledge, 2008. Print.
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The first speculation is that any life form that can be in pain has a brain that is capable of being in a specific physical-chemical condition and, whilst this organism is experiencing pain, its brain is in this physical-chemical condition. For the identity theory to be accurate, the brain of any creature that cannot
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This note was uploaded on 04/15/2010 for the course PHL PHL 100 taught by Professor Jboyle during the Winter '10 term at University of Toronto- Toronto.

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PHL100Y1 the nature of mental states - The Nature of Mental...

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