Historical Antecedents The identity theory as I understand it here goes back to U. Place and Herbert Feigl in the s. Historically philosophers and scientists, for example Leucippus, Hobbes, La Mettrie, and d'Holbach, as well as Karl Vogt who, following Pierre-Jean-Georges Cabanis, made the preposterous remark perhaps not meant to be taken too seriously that the brain secretes thought as the liver secretes bile, have embraced materialism.
It is plain that humans can know and understand things; indeed, Aristotle supposes that it is our very nature to desire knowledge and understanding Metaphysics i 1, a21; De Anima ii 3, b18; iii 3, a6—8.
In this way, just as the having of sensory faculties is essential to being an animal, so the having of a mind is essential to being a human. Human minds do more than understand, however. It is equally essential to the human being to plan and deliberate, to ponder alternatives and strategize, and generally to chart courses of action.
In all these ways, investigating this capacity of soul thus has a special significance for Aristotle: His primary investigation of mind occurs in two chapters of De Anima, both of which are richly suggestive, but neither of which admits of easy or uncontroversial exposition. In De Anima iii 4 and 5, Aristotle approaches the nature of thinking by once again deploying a hylomorphic analysis, given in terms of form reception.
Just as perception involves the reception of a sensible form by a suitably qualified sensory faculty, so thinking involves the reception of an intelligible form by a suitably qualified intellectual faculty De Anima iii 4, a13— This hylomorphic analysis of thinking is evidently a simple extension of the general model of hylomorphic change exploited by Aristotle in a host of similar contexts.
That is, at least in schematic outline, Aristotle will offer the following approach. For any given thinker S and an arbitrary object of thought O: S thinks O if and only if: Unsurprisingly, the same questions which arose in the case of perception also arise here.
The suggestion is, then, that when S comes to think of a stone, as opposed to merely perceiving some particular stone, S has a faculty which is such that it can become one in form with that stone.
Aristotle sometimes infers from this sort of consideration that thought is of universals, whereas perception is of particulars De Anima ii 5, b23, Posterior Analytics i 31, 87b37—88a7though he elsewhere will allow that we also have knowledge of individuals De Anima ii 5, a29; Metaphysics xiii 10, a These passages are not contradictory, since Aristotle may simply be emphasizing that thought tends to proceed at a higher level of generality than perception, because of its trading in comparatively abstract structural features of its objects.
A person can think of what it is to be a stone, but cannot, in any direct and literal sense of the term, perceive this. To take an initially favorable case, when thinking that tree frogs are oviparous, S will be in a psychic state whose internal structural states are, among other things, one in form with tree frogs.
There must be a determinate and expressible structural isomorphism, even though one could not say that the blueprint realizes the form of the house. Houses are, after all, necessarily three-dimensional.
On the contrary, the mind cannot realize a broad range of forms: As such, it would not be possible for the mind to realize the form of a house in the way bricks and mortar instantiate such a form: Consequently, when claiming that minds become isomorphic with their objects, Aristotle must understand the way in which minds become enformed as somehow attenuated or non-literal.
Perhaps, though, this should be plain enough. If a mind thinks something by being made like it, then the way it is likened to what it thinks must be somehow representational. This approach to the nature of thinking has some promising features.
At the same time, one of its virtues may appear also as a vice. Only surfaces can be affected so as to be changed in color.
So, hylomorphic change requires at least the following two components: His reasons for maintaining this thesis are complex, but derive ultimately from the forms of plasticity Aristotle believes the mind must manifest if it is to be capable of thinking all things De Anima iii 4, a Now, if the mind is indeed nothing in actuality before thinking, it is hard to understand how the hylomorphic analysis of change and affection could be brought to bear in this arena.
If some dough is made cookie-shaped, it is actually dough before being so enformed; even the sense organs, when made like their objects, are actually existing organs before being affected by the objects of perception.
So, given a conception of mind as not existing in actuality before thinking, it is hard to appreciate how thinking lends itself to an analysis in terms of any recognizable hylomorphic approach to change.
A builder is as such already able to build. When he begins building he becomes fully and actually a builder for the duration of his working. In this way, he loses nothing, but instead realizes an already established potential.These are among the questions that make up the philosophical issue known as the “mind-body problem.” Mind-body Dualism The French philosopher Rene Descartes () argued for a view that is known today as “mind-body dualism.”.
The Mind-Body Problem There is an age-old problem in philosophy known as the "mind-body problem." One quick way to state the problem is this: what is the relationship between the mind and the body -- between the mental realm (the realm of thoughts, beliefs, pains, sensations, emotions) and the physical realm (matter, atoms, neurons).
In the philosophy of mind, dualism is the theory that the mental and the physical—or mind and body or mind and brain—are, in some sense, radically different kinds of thing. Because common sense tells us that there are physical bodies, and because there is intellectual pressure towards producing a unified view of the world, one could say.
The mind-body problem is about how these two interact. One of the central questions in psychology (and philosophy) concerns the mind/body problem: is the mind part of the body, or the body part of the mind?
Moreover, since some "mental events" are large enough information structures to be adequately determined, these mental events can act causally on lower biological and physical levels in the hierarchy, in particular, the mind can move the body and all its contained physical particles, thus .
If the soul bears the same relation to the body which the shape of a statue bears to its material basis, then we should expect some general features to be common to both; and we should be able to draw some immediate consequences regarding the relationship between soul and body.