Phil1November 7

Phil1November 7 - November 7 2007 1 What the Identity...

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November 7, 2007 1) What the Identity Theorist is committed to a. The Identity Theorist i. Pain = C fiber activation b. This is an identity statement, and so is necessarily true (if true at all) c. This entails that (i) anything actually or possible that does not have C fibers or (ii) is otherwise incapable of C fiber activation, is incapable of being in pain 2) The Mind is Plastic (IE Multiply Realized) a. Across humans: perhaps for most humans pain is realized by the activation of C fibers b. But this isn’t true for all humans: some humans who have had serious brain injuries are incapable of C fiber activation, but nevertheless are capable of being in pain c. So pain does not equal C fiber activation d. Within a single human : a human may be able to be in throughout her life despite the fact that her being in pain is realized by C fiber activation for a time, but the, after suffering a brain injury and becoming incapable of D fiber activation , her being in pain is realized by some other brain state i. So pain does not equal C fiber activation e. Across species : we have good reason to think that many different species are capable of being in pain, even though their nervous systems aren’t relevantly like that of humans. i. Octopi, lizards, snakes, etc are all capable of being in pain. But none of them have nervous systems quite like that of humans: we have good reason to think they don’t have C fibers to activate ii. So pain does not equal C fiber activation 3) The Possibility of Alien Minds a. Suppose that one day we come into contact with some extraterrestrials who don’t have nervous systems like ours or a brain. We poke them and they seem to find it unpleasant. Can we really rule out that they aren’t actually in pain simply because they don’t have C fibers to activate. 4) Functional Kinds a. What is a carburetor? A carburetor is anything that mixes fuel and oxygen for an internal combustion engine b. What KIND OF THING is a carburetor? It is a functional kind. A particular carburetor may be made of metal, titanium, steel, iron, brass, aluminum or some as yet undiscovered alien material- what it’s made of is not essential to it.
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