Thursday, November 10, 2011

359: Criticism of th Identity Theory

Of course there are a lot of objections agains the Identity theory and physicalism or materialism, basically, the idea that mental states are brain states.

The criticism based on Leibniz's Law we have discussed in a memorable previous lecture. Let's have a look at some other objections.

When you feel pain special nerves are firing: c-fibers. Now you could say: My pain is in my foot, but my c-fiber is not.

The identity theorist can insist that, strictly speaking, my pain is not in my foot.The brain state which is identical to my pain is in my head.

Rather than talk about a pain in my foot we should talk about having a pain of the in-the-foot kind. Just think of phantom pains.

people who lost a body part can still feel pain in the missing part. This means that have a brain state that is of the kind of ……

There is one more application of Leibniz's principle which we should briefly consider.There is something that it is like to be in pain: it hurts.

On the other hand, it is very hard to conceive how electrical activity in a nerve cell could hurt. So it seems that pain has a property, namely 'hurting', which no brain state could ever have.

This is a serious counterargument indeed. If pain hurts and c-fiber firing doesn't then they can not be identical.

On the one hand we could refer to the intentional fallacy, as an answer. On the other hand we can postpone a definite answer until we focus on consciousness itself.

We have another problem to face. We said that Lightning is identical with electrical discharge. So every instantiation of such a specific electrical discharge is a lightning.

Suppose a squid has no c-fibers, while we say that pain (mental state) is identical with c-fiber firing (brain state). Do you have to conclude that a squid does not experience pain?

We could say that pain is multiply realized: in different creatures pain is 'realized' in different ways. Type identities are thus restricted to a given species.

But then I believe that the Big Ben is in London, chances are that you do too. If we postulate type identity, this means that all these beliefs about the Big Ben in our heads are identical brain states.

The coarse anatomy of your brain is probably very similar to mine, but the idea that the information of the Big Ben in my brain is stored in an exactly identical way in your brain, is rather unlikely.

So, we have to reconsider our basic idea of identity. In what ways are mental states identical with brain states?

Maybe some of you remember that short video about using a fMRI scanner as lie detector. The general theory is a type identity,

which means that telling the truth shows on the scanner always the same pattern for every individual brain. Reality shows different.

These consideration shave Iead some philosophers of mind to abandon even the species restricted type identity theory.

On their view,the most we can say is that each mental state token is identical to some brain state token.In other words, these philosophers endorse only token identity of mental states with brain states.

Neurological research has certainly demonstrated clear correlations between mental states and brain states, but not in a way that we can assume simple type identities between mental states and brain states.

It still, however, does not proof that we have to assume the reality of a dualism. We'll see where all ends, but we are still not there.

The Discussion

herman Bergson: Thank you...
herman Bergson: The floor is yours ....
Mick Nerido: Interestingly some people feel no pain and there easily injure them self without knowing it...
herman Bergson: Oh yes....I even have a relative in RL who has that problem...
Lizzy Pleides: the sensitivity of pain is different at every person
Sybyle Perdide: its hard stuff
herman Bergson: Yes Lizzy....
Lizzy Pleides: and there is a pain memory
:: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): you can even pretend that the pain is not there
Mick Nerido: Redheads are known to have high pain tolerance…
Lizzy Pleides: there is no hurt but a pain sometimes
herman Bergson: this makes type identity hard to defend
Mick Nerido: In my brain Big Ben might be filled under clocks and someone else it might be under the heading of London?
herman Bergson: With all neurological knowledge of today we intuitively know that there is a realtion between the brain and the mind....a physical one...
herman Bergson: That is the point Mick
Lizzy Pleides: we have special pain diseases like fibroalgy, people have pain and no hurt causes it, its sensitivity only
herman Bergson: What I try to figure out is, what is philosophically the explanation for what exists....a brain and a mind...
Lizzy Pleides: or pain memory
Mick Nerido: Pain is our brain telling us there is a problem
herman Bergson: Yes Lizzy ...the brain can play many games...
herman Bergson: I happened to read today for instance something of the out-of-body experience.
herman Bergson: I guess you know the story...
Mick Nerido: No
herman Bergson: people have the experience to hoover above their own body...even can look at it
herman Bergson: it is always sold as some mystic experience....
herman Bergson: well is not...
Lizzy Pleides: interesting!
Mick Nerido: What is it?
Lizzy Pleides: a kind of death experience?
herman Bergson: in Belgium neurologists implanted an electronic little device in th ebrain of a person who suffers of...a sec...let me find the word
:: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): can we all learn to do it?
herman Bergson: yes ...tinnitus
herman Bergson: no you cant learn it...
druth Vlodovic: "astral projection", now we can get an app
Mick Nerido: I have Tinnitus ringing in your ears
herman Bergson: I read the book written by Monroe ….didn't work..:-)
herman Bergson: Yes..a high ringing in the ears...
druth Vlodovic: on older computers data would be stored to random locations on the hard drive, this would marginally affect performance
herman Bergson: the point was...
druth Vlodovic: if data processing were to suffer the same randomness it could affect results as well
herman Bergson: that when they tested the device on various frequences the man had now and then out-of-body experiences....
Sybyle Perdide: great
:: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): cool:)
Mick Nerido: I would like to try it lol
Sybyle Perdide: I ever thought its a physical malfunction
herman Bergson: certain frequences this experience could be provoked by stimulating certain parts of the brain
druth Vlodovic: to be the devil's advocate, that doesn't prove that oob is the result of brain function, just that it can be induced
Lizzy Pleides: i dont know if ithis is comfortable
druth Vlodovic: maybe they drove his soul our of his body
Lizzy Pleides: we didn't talk about the soul up to now?!
herman Bergson: that is a big step postulate the existence of a soul
druth Vlodovic: well, you get a visual perspective different than what is physically possible...
Lizzy Pleides: what is your opinion herman about the soul?
herman Bergson: Just imagine..... trialism.... soul - mind - body....
herman Bergson: the concept of the soul is a culturally generated idea.....
Mick Nerido: I have felt I was outside my body in uncomfortable situations...
herman Bergson: especially as an answer to death
herman Bergson: our unwillingness to accept that life just ends at a given moment
Lizzy Pleides: this is theology, isn't it?
herman Bergson: Yes it is Lizzy....
herman Bergson: based on beliefs, not on any facts
herman Bergson: even the idea that the mind is a non physical substance as Descartes assumes is a big assumption
Mick Nerido: Like I was watching myself go through it and being removed
Lizzy Pleides: you really did Mick?
herman Bergson: You'd better stay inside yourself, Mick :-))
Sybyle Perdide: giggles
herman Bergson: As he sings.."Baby, it is cold outside....." ^_^
Sybyle Perdide: its a chance herman.. you can interview both Mick
Mick Nerido: It is only under extreme stress
herman Bergson: It is your brain that plays tricks on you, Mick
Lizzy Pleides: is it a dream perhaps?
druth Vlodovic: we have the ability to imagine scenes we have not physically seen
Mick Nerido: I know but the experience could be mistaken for a physical excursion lol
Sybyle Perdide: do you know nahtod-erlebnisse?
herman Bergson: sure Druth...
herman Bergson: Yes Sybyle...
Mick Nerido: What is it?
herman Bergson: also such a beloved subject for mystics...
Sybyle Perdide: after I have seen, how my pc crashed, I think, its a physical phenomen similar to it
Lizzy Pleides: a para-psychologic matter
herman Bergson: the near death experience is the result of insufficient oxygyne supply to the brain...
Sybyle Perdide: *nods
herman Bergson: no..not at all parapsychological
Sybyle Perdide: hi rodney
Rodney Handrick: Hi Sybyle
Mick Nerido: Like sleep walking?
herman Bergson: It can be induced ...
herman Bergson: Weird stories about sleepwalking....
Mick Nerido: What is going on in the brain there?
herman Bergson: a man who kills his wife and kid and doesn't remember…
herman Bergson: Well Mick....
herman Bergson: you can make a difference between awareness and consciousness....
herman Bergson: In a state of awareness you act kind of on auto-pilot....
herman Bergson: when driving a car 80% of what you do is on awareness...
herman Bergson: your consciousness is focused on the traffic...
Mick Nerido: like walking it is automatic
herman Bergson: shifting gear, decelerating, accelerating....checking your mirrors...all auto-pilot
druth Vlodovic: consciousness is sort of like a supervisor, checks in and tells your mind what to do next, then it does it on it's own in many cases
druth Vlodovic: but it seems that consciousness is needed for memory
herman Bergson: Maybe it is Druth.....
Lizzy Pleides: routine...
herman Bergson: we'll spend a lot of attention to the theme "consciousness"
Mick Nerido: Hipnotism is another strange brain state
Mick Nerido: strange
herman Bergson: Nice, Mick....we should look into that form a neurological point of view
Lizzy Pleides: yes the snake in the jungle book
druth Vlodovic: I suspect that we always are in a lot of different mental states at any given time, all doing slightly different things
herman Bergson: yes animals are apparently sensitive to it too :-)
herman Bergson: oh yes Druth.....
druth Vlodovic: I was talking to a woman who is studying dreaming and suspects that we are always in a dream state, as well as other states
Mick Nerido: Snake charmer?
herman Bergson: that is what introspection was about.....we only see a small part opf our mental states
Mick Nerido: Have you see the gorilla in the room video?
herman Bergson: Well, let's see in next lecture where the identity theory ends and a new interpretation begins....
herman Bergson: If you have no further questions or remarks.....
herman Bergson: Thank you for your participation again.....
Lizzy Pleides: thank you Herman!
:: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you Professor
herman Bergson: Class dismissed ...

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