The Mind-Body Identity Theory

The Mind-Body Identity Theory

Substance and Property Dualism Michael Lacewing [email protected] o.uk Michael Lacewing Metaphysics of mind Substance: needs no other thing to exist Dualism: there are two sorts of substance, mind (or soul) and matter

Mental properties are properties of a mental substance Materialism: there is just one sort of thing, matter Mental properties are properties of a material substance Materialism and mental properties Substances can have different sorts of properties

Biological: swan Colour: white But both physical properties Property dualism: mental properties are not physical properties Hmm Descartes dualism

The mind is a separate substance from the body. What am I? I am a thing that thinks. I cannot doubt this, yet I can doubt whether I have a body. So I can be separated from a body. The body has parts, the mind has no parts. So they are different kinds of thing. Objections Descartes has not shown that he (the mind) is

a substance. Just because Descartes can think of his mind existing without his body, this doesnt mean that his mind really can exist without his body. Cp. I think the Masked Man robbed the bank; I dont think my father robbed the bank; Therefore, my father isnt the Masked Man. We cant infer real possibility directly from what we can imagine. Mental causation If the mind is just thought, not in space, and matter is just extension, in

space, how could one possibly causally affect the other? All physical effects have a sufficient physical cause. Nothing physical happens needs a non-physical explanation. Mental causes would violate the laws of physics, e.g. law of conservation of energy. Jacksons knowledge argument Mary, a neuroscientist, has never seen colour, but

knows all about colour perception Mary doesnt know what it is like to see red - so, although Mary knows all the physical facts about seeing red, there is a fact (of consciousness) Mary doesnt know Therefore, properties of consciousness are not physical properties

Reply Mary doesnt learn a new fact, but a new way of thinking about an old fact. She now knows the fact of what happens in the brain through introspection. On concepts and properties: the same fact (the glass contains water) can be thought of in different ways (the glass contains H2O). Zombies Zombie (in philosophy, not voodoo!):

a physical replica of a person, but without consciousness A zombie has identical physical properties, but different mental properties - therefore mental properties arent physical properties Zombies may not be physically possible, but they are logically possible Reply Zombies are not possible - that we can imagine them isnt enough

(see objection to Descartes) Imagine that water is not H2O it seems we can, but in fact, this is impossible There could be something just like water, but if it isnt H2O, it isnt water Response The analogy doesnt work We make the mistake in the case of water, because we imagine something just like water There is nothing just like a

zombie which isnt a zombie Imagination is a good guide to possibility here - therefore zombies are possible, and property dualism is true

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