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Gertier: In Defense Of Mind-Body Dualism, Philosophy Reading Notes

by: Sydney Dowd

Gertier: In Defense Of Mind-Body Dualism, Philosophy Reading Notes Phil 2010 016

Marketplace > Georgia State University > Phil 2010 016 > Gertier In Defense Of Mind Body Dualism Philosophy Reading Notes
Sydney Dowd
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About this Document

These notes cover Tuesday's reading, and can be used in class or for personal study.
Introduction to Philosophy
Aaron Cochran
Class Notes
philosophy, notes, reading Gertier
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Sydney Dowd on Sunday April 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Phil 2010 016 at Georgia State University taught by Aaron Cochran in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 27 views.


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Date Created: 04/03/16
Gertler / In defense of mind­body dualism / 3 avril 2016 / Philosophy Reading Notes Identity Thesis Claim: pain = C­fiber stimulation (c­f stim)  pain = sensation, it’s not actually located in any damaged tissue  sensation (not the cause) = mental state  Therefore, if pain = C­f stim, pain cannot be present without it and vice versa according  to the identity thesis.   We don’t know if it’s possible.   Perhaps physical events cause mental states? OR pain and C­f stim are products of a  common cause?   If C­f stim causes pain, then pain cannot = c­f stim because something cannot be its own cause.  Dualists: mental and physical states are distinct and one is possible without the other.   Maybe physical and mental states happening at the same time is due to a root cause for  the both of them?   If pain can exist without any physical state, then the identity thesis is false.  Conceivability test: a test we use to try to imagine a certain scenario to determine if it’s  possible The Disembodiment Argument 1. I can conceive of a certain pain (pain 1) without engaging physical features. (AKA –  conceiving pain doesn’t require a body) 2. If I can conceive a scenario happening, it’s possible for it to happen.  3. TF it’s possible that (pain 1) can occur in a disembodied (no­body­having) being.  4. If (pain 1) was a physical state, then it couldn’t happen in a disembodied being. 5. (pain 1) or any pain = / = some physical state  6. Identity thesis = false Regarding premise (2)   Why should we say our concepts (conceptions) actually reflect the way the world is?  ­ concepts are indispensable in investigating any question; we must have some  concept of the subject matter we investigate.  ­ TF arguments aren’t illegitimate just because they use our concepts.   Not everything we conceive is possible? Pain and physical = unclear concepts  ­ Conceivability tests reveal what’s possible / impossible IF concepts involved are  sufficiently comprehensive  AKA – we have complete idea of what the concept is. If someone didn’t know that  LEGOs are plastic, they would not have sufficiently comprehensive idea of what  LEGOs were, and thus his/her arguments using them wouldn’t be valid.  New premise (2): If, using concepts that are sufficiently comprehensive, I can conceive of a  particular scenario, then the scenario is possible.  New premise (1): Using sufficiently comprehensive concepts, I can conceive of experiencing  (pain 1) while disembodied.  When you conceive of (pain 1) while disembodied / not using any physical part of you / are the  concepts of ‘pain’ and ‘physical’ sufficiently clear and complete?  Physical states are ultimately constituted by nonmental phenomena  To be disembodied is to have no physical / nonmental features.  Establishing pain as sufficiently comprehensive concept:   Water has a hidden essence (H2O) that is revealed through scientific investigation.   Unlike water, pain has no hidden essence.  Pain has no hidden essence.  If you feel pain, you’re in pain. You don’t need to do a brain scan to confirm you’re in  pain by looking at the C­fibers.   You don’t need to look at C­fibers to determine if you’re in pain.   Therefore, pain has no hidden essence.   Even if pain is correlated with C­f stim, it’s not essential to pain. If it was essential, it  would be the hidden essence of pain. Thus, since pain has no hidden essence, it’s  possible that pain can exist without C­fiber simulation.   Therefore, C­f stim and pain are not identical.  There is some evidence for pain (see above) which is absolutely conclusive.  Your ability to conceive of disembodied pain (know its feeling without feeling it) means  that it’s possible.  ­ This refuses the identity thesis, and proves that dualism is true.  Physicalist objection  We don’t rely on appearance for conclusive evidence that something which looks like  water is water. We must use its hidden evidence (determine if it’s H2O) to see if is truly  water.  ­ We conceptualize that water has a hidden essence, and H2O is it .   Pain doesn’t require this.  ­ We don’t need to establish any hidden feature to see if we’re feeling pain while we’re feeling pain.  ­ We conceptualize pain as not having any hidden essence, that pain is the  appearance of pain, and it is possessed by mental concepts.  Argument against Dualism: Mental Causation  1. Dualism implies that mental events (thoughts/sensations/etc) NEVER have physical  effects.  2. If pain contributes to reaction (causes it), it must be identical to physical state.  3. Identity thesis = true.  Problem with Identity Thesis: If pain is C­f stim, then creatures with very different physical  structures from our own cannot feel pain or experience any sensation we experience. (problem  of chauvinism)   You can avoid the problem of chauvinism if you say that pain­in­humans is C­fiber  stimulation, but pain­in­creatures­with­very­different­structures is caused by some other  physical cause.   However, according to Leibniz’s Law, they still cannot experience pain because the  same things have the same properties, and these two “pains” have different properties.  Summary – main ideas  Dualism is not undermined by empirical evidence because empirical evidence only  makes correlations.   Dualists can accept causal explanations of correlations (eg aspirin correlates to pain  reduction because it inhibits the biochemicals causing C­f stim).  We seem to be able to conceive of disembodied pain, and the concept of pain appears  to be sufficient to use in conceivability tests. Thus, dualism is true. 


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