Identity Theory and Folk Psychology

Essay by NoworryUniversity, Bachelor'sA, June 2007

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Abstract: Identity theory tells that mental states are identical to brain states. Folk psychology, on other hand is thought to be a theory that help us to predict and explain one's behaviour by some general laws. In this paper, I will discuss how identity theory allows for mental states to be causally efficacious with behaviour, and how their contents are related. As a result, the plausibility of the type-identity theory is not going to be undermined.

According to type-identity theory, mental states are identical to brain states. Smart would defend this by saying "mental states are type-identical to brain states"( Lecture Notes, Feb 28) and Place would say "consciousness is a process in the brain"( Place,29). Folk psychology is roughly the view that we can roughly explain one individual's behaviour by citing his propositional attitudes (Lecture Notes, Mar.21). In my opinion, these two theories are compatible- folk psychology provided "explanatory hypothesis" (Churchland, 459) for the identity theory, and the identity theory allows for mental states to be causally efficacious with behaviour.

In simple words, their contents are well related.

In denying dualism, Smart would rather think behavourism is "expressive account" of sensation (Bailey,405) and he divides mental states into two categories: common-sense beliefs and desires, i.e. "propositional attitudes"; sensations, which is thought to be the most difficult for behaviourism, such as "pain", "ache" and other sensory experiences (Bailey,407).

To prove that mind are type-identical with brain process, Smart used some samples of in modern physical science, like, lightning is identical with electrical discharge when the clouds of water-vapor ionizes(Smart ,412). Although "lightening" and "electrical discharge" are different from a syntax perspective, they are referring to the very same thing. It is used as an analogy to "mind" and "brain process"-mental states are brain states. Indeed, they need...