Smart's Identity Theory

833 Words 4 Pages
J.C.C. Smart, a founder of Identity Theory, lays out his philosophy in The Topic Neutral Approach. Identity Theory suggests that the mind is created solely by mind states— its singular suggestion being sensations are brain processes. (Smart, 169) (Smart, 170) However, Identity Theorists believe behavior is caused by theoretically understandable mechanical processes. Smart claims this theory should be taken seriously since it parallels physics and therefore seems plausible. (Smart, 169) Heil mentions that Dualist philosophies are unappealing, they are contingent on correlations caused by causal interactions which seems implausible. Coupled with the idea that mind and body are distinct separate entities the model seems overly complex—therefore …show more content…
(Smart, 170) Another proposition to account for is that we need to understand a persons consciousness to understand them, because these are what allow us to feel physical stimulation. The consciousness that is describe here cannot be correlated with the brain, they are identical. (Smart, 169) Identity Theory is preferable to many philosophies of mind, especially the many forms of dualism, because the material world is effected by the material world alone. Furthermore, Identity Theorists believe their philosophy is simpler then the other philosophies because the mind is the brain. (Heil, 70) The nervous system is probably not a negative feedback loop, a process in which one system affects itself by reducing the output of its function, because it seems too complicated to be purely vestigial. (Smart, 170) …show more content…
However our brain processes do seem vastly dissimilar to our mental going-ons (for instance physicists have discovered that color is a mental creation, reality is colorless) so we should believe that a purely materialist model shouldn’t hold up to scrutiny. Despite this apparent argument against a materialist model most scientists cling to the materialist view that our brain makes up the mind—after all why should sentient minds be the exception to the rule? (Heil, 73) The solution posed by identity theory is that physical and mental processes are identical, the events and processes are simply transitions between states. These transitions follow the identity principle— each mental property is a physical process as well. (Heil, 75) This relationship, which is seen between the mind and brain, is Leibniz’s Law: If A has property one and B is strictly identical with A B has property one. (Heil, 77) Although this theory would take a significant amount of time to disprove, because we would be hard pressed to figure out wether the experience of the person examining the first persons mind was identical, being able to possibly validate identity theory would improve the philosophy greatly. (Heil,

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