22 - The Explanatory Role Argument for the Identity Theory...

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2/20/08 The Explanatory Role Argument for the Identity Theory T Suppose we have good reason to think that a certain type of mental state, M, causes some behavior type, T, to occur. M Suppose further: Being in brain state B has been found to occur when and only when M occurs. M But if we settle for mere correlations (not identities) between mental states and brain states, then all we can conclude about our case is the following: a o Being in B is correlated with the cause of T o Fs and Gs are systematically correlated just in case (Fs occur iff Gs occur) o So, brain state B and Mental state M are systematically correlated just in case (M occurs iff B occurs) c Since we’ve ruled out an appeal to chance, our options for explaining the correlation between M and being in brain state B are: c o (i) They’re identical ( o (ii) There’s a direct causal relationship ( o (iii) There’s an indirect causal relationship ( o (iv) They have a common cause ( The common cause option: T o There may not be any one kind of thing that is the cause of mental state M. Suppose M is acute pain. The cause of acute pain is wildly disjunctive , and involves very different kinds of things: , Wtf? W o A wildly disjunctive cause like this one poses a problem for the opponent of I.T.: o o It may very well be the cause of acute pain (a mental state), but given that acute pain is not identical to any brain state , such a cause would not serve as a good explanation for the systematic correlation between acute pain and being in B. b o So, positing identities between mental states and brain states provides the best explanation for why M occurs just when being in brain state B occurs. b
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