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Identity Theory

Autor:   •  March 9, 2014  •  Essay  •  1,504 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,183 Views

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Jack Smart's identity theory proposes a solution to the philosophical argument of the relationship between the body and the mind. The traditional body and mind theory have been discussed by many philosophers throughout time. There are two points of view to this problem, the monistic point of view and the dualistic. Monistic point of view is exclusive and there can be only one choice, to choose to believe that everything is material OR spiritual. A dualist point of view captures more audience by accepting a popular belief, that mind is spiritual whereas body is material. In Smart's paper, he defends materialism in the monistic point of view. He believes that sensations are merely nothing but brain processes. His materialism belief leads him to believe that everything, from simple to complex is composed of many tiny physical particles. Therefore the mind as well as the body are all physical objects. I very much believe in Smart's solution to this problem. But just as other philosophical theories, also the nature of philosophy, there are debates and objections against Smart's identity theory. Originally there were eight of them, and I think Smart has handled them quite well. I personally think objection number 4 is the toughest one of them. It is serious because it indirectly, or accidentally tackles the nature, the identity of sensation? Is it a brain process? Or is it the experience of it a brain process?

Jack Smart doesn't think there are many strong arguments for the dualists side. As a materialist, he believes that everything has a physical property and there is nothing non physical; Smart can be considered as an identity theorist; an identity theorist is a person who believes in identities, such as things exist in nature like lighting is electrical discharge or things are composed of smaller elements and atoms. In his identity theory article he admits that there are distinguished mental states (consciousness/sensations) and brain processes states; nevertheless he thinks that every sensation not is linked with a unique brain process, such as crying, laughing, smiling, etc, but it is a report of the process that is linked with the correlated brain process Therefore, Smart, in this case believes the mind and the brain are the same, sharing a same base and foundation, therefore mental states are the same as brain states thus every feeling or sensation that one encounters can be taken as a result of a brain process.

By having clearly stated and expanded on his thesis, sensations are not just brain processes but a report of having a sensation is a brain process, Smart still answers and gives out his thoughts to objection 4. Objection 4 attacks the weak side, original side of Smart's thesis. It states that:

"If my after-image is greenish and not in physical space, because when a brain surgeon opens up my brain, he will see nothing but flesh. The brain itself will not be greenish and


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