Smart's Identity Theory Of Mind Summary

1055 Words 5 Pages
Peter Morath
Philosophy of Mind 330
Prof. Jon Stoltz
A Non-Reductive Blunder David Chalmers’ attempt to preserve and embrace the mystery of consciousness in his book “The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory” runs contrary to Smart’s Identity Theory of Mind presented in “Sensations and Brain Processes.” This preservation and non-reductive view of mind is, in theory, important to conserving positive phenomenal interactions in the mind, but fails to do so. His view is not explanatory, but baffling. His ideas add mystery without substance. . Smart, on the other hand, desires for a simple “physico-chemical” account for mind and in doing so creates an elegant solution that has faith in the future de-mystification of mind
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The premise at the heart of the matter is his claim that consciousness in not logically supervenient on the physical. If this is refuted than all falls into place and Smart can rest easy knowing that his theory is possible. To do this is to simply put into question the conceivability of philosophical zombies. My claim is that philosophical zombies are not conceivable at all because of both the about-ness of conscious experience and the way we talk about our conscious experiences. If no experience of consciousness was had, then consequently no understanding of consciousness would be available. The simple idea of a unconscious man and a conscious man behaving the same way outwardly while simultaneously experiencing the same physical states is absurd. Even the idea of someone physically the same as me without conscious experience necessitates a dualist theory, and not the detached theory that Chalmers wants to claim. Consciousness is about the physical events I experience. It’s linked to my body completely and informs my speech. There is a vast difference between talking about feeling a certain way and talking about feeling conscious. One can be a simple construct of speech, we train robots to speak this way about their states, but the other requires a understanding of conscious experience that is simply not available to the zombie. If consciousness is so hard to understand than how would a unconscious being have a chance of comprehending it in speech if they haven’t experienced it. Thus it is absurd to conclude that consciousness is not linked to the physical logically considering the about-ness of our conscious experiences and the way we talk about our conscious

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