Natural Minds

Paperback | January 20, 2006

byThomas W. Polger

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In Natural Minds Thomas Polger advocates, and defends, the philosophical theory that mind equals brain -- that sensations are brain processes -- and in doing so brings the mind-brain identity theory back into the philosophical debate about consciousness. The version of identity theory that Polger advocates holds that conscious processes, events, states, or properties are type- identical to biological processes, events, states, or properties -- a "tough-minded" account that maintains that minds are necessarily identical to brains, a position held by few current identity theorists. Polger's approach to what William James called the "great blooming buzzing confusion" of consciousness begins with the idea that we need to know more about brains in order to understand consciousness fully, but recognizes that biology alone cannot provide the entire explanation. Natural Minds takes on issues from philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and metaphysics, moving freely among them in its discussion.

Polger begins by answering two major objections to identity theory -- Hilary Putnam's argument from multiple realizability (which discounts identity theory because creatures with brains unlike ours could also have mental states) and Saul Kripke's modal argument against mind-brain identity (based on the apparent contingency of the identity statement). He then offers a detailed account of functionalism and functional realization, which offer the most serious obstacle to consideration of identity theory. Polger argues that identity theory can itself satisfy the kind of explanatory demands that are often believed to favor functionalism.

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In Natural Minds Thomas Polger advocates, and defends, the philosophical theory that mind equals brain -- that sensations are brain processes -- and in doing so brings the mind-brain identity theory back into the philosophical debate about consciousness. The version of identity theory that Polger advocates holds that conscious process...

Thomas W. Polger is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Cincinnati.

other books by Thomas W. Polger

The Multiple Realization Book
The Multiple Realization Book

Kobo ebook|Sep 1 2016

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:324 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.75 inPublished:January 20, 2006Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262661969

ISBN - 13:9780262661966

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In Natural Minds Thomas Polger advocates, and defends, the philosophical theory that mind equals brain -- that sensations are brain processes -- and in doing so brings the mind-brain identity theory back into the philosophical debate about consciousness. The version of identity theory that Polger advocates holds that conscious processes, events, states, or properties are type- identical to biological processes, events, states, or properties -- a "tough-minded" account that maintains that minds are necessarily identical to brains, a position held by few current identity theorists. Polger's approach to what William James called the "great blooming buzzing confusion" of consciousness begins with the idea that we need to know more about brains in order to understand consciousness fully, but recognizes that biology alone cannot provide the entire explanation. Natural Minds takes on issues from philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and metaphysics, moving freely among them in its discussion.Polger begins by answering two major objections to identity theory -- Hilary Putnam's argument from multiple realizability (which discounts identity theory because creatures with brains unlike ours could also have mental states) and Saul Kripke's modal argument against mind-brain identity (based on the apparent contingency of the identity statement). He then offers a detailed account of functionalism and functional realization, which offer the most serious obstacle to consideration of identity theory. Polger argues that identity theory can itself satisfy the kind of explanatory demands that are often believed to favor functionalism. Tom Polger's Natural Minds is the latest -- and a welcome and important -- addition to the surging chorus of voices urging a more serious and rigorous form of physicalism as against the orthodox nonreductive varieties. Polger argues for his claims effectively and innovatively, and with admirable clarity. Especially noteworthy are his insightful discussions of functionalism, the concept of 'realization,' and the merits of the identity theory, or type physicalism, vis-à-vis functionalism. Strongly recommended to anyone with a serious interest in the metaphysics of the mind.