Historical Review And Argument For General Physicalism Rough Draft
In “Is Consciousness a Brain Process?”, U.T. Place argues that it is logically possible that sensations are brain processes. He holds that there is no contradiction in such claims, and that whether they are true or not is a matter for science to determine.
Place begins by distinguishing two kinds of conscious phenomena: inward and outward. Outward mental phenomena are bodily behaviors. Inward mental phenomena include “consciousness, experience, sensation, and mental imagery” (Place 1956 44). Behaviorists talk about only the outward mental phenomena. One motivation for the behaviorist approach is the worry that accepting inner mental phenomena would require accepting a “separate category of processes over and above the physical” (44). Place wants to argue, “an acceptance of inner processes does not entail dualism” (44). Instead, Place proposes that these inner mental processes could be brain processes.
One objection to the identity theory comes from the logical independence of the expressions ‘sensation state X’ and ‘brain process X’. Place argues logical independence of X does not entail ontological independence of entities X (46). Place says, “we are normally justified in arguing from the logical independence of two expressions to the ontological independence of the states of affairs to which they refer” (46). The exception applies when “the operations which have to be performed in order to verify…