Polger on the Illusion of Contingent Identity

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
Thomas Polger has argued in favor of the mind-brain type-identity theory, the view that mental states or processes are type-identical to states of the central nervous system. Acknowledging that the type-materialist must respond to Kripke's modal anti-materialist argument, Polger insists that Kripke's argument rests on dubious assumptions concerning the identity conditions of brain states. In brief, Polger claims that one knows that x and y are non-identical when one knows the identity conditions for both x and y. Replace x and y with 'brain states' and 'sensations' and it follows that one can know that brain states and sensations are non-identical only if one knows the identity conditions for brain states. But, according to Polger, we do not know the identity conditions for brain states. Hence, we should not be so confident that brains states and sensations are non-identical after all. But Polger's account is terribly flawed. Ironically, if Polger's skepticism is warranted, then Polger himself has no good reasons to be a type-materialist. But more importantly, Polger's skepticism regarding the identity conditions of brain states is deeply defective. We do, I submit, understand the identity conditions of brain states. In the end, I submit, Kripke is safe from Polger.
Categories
(categorize this paper)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
MERPOT-2
Revision history
Archival date: 2016-03-09
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2011-10-20

Total views
121 ( #22,789 of 41,616 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
17 ( #28,439 of 41,616 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.