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Physicalism and Humanism

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Materialism; Identity (Philosophical concept)


In recent years philosophers have been discussing the pros and cons of the "Identity Hypothesis" of Herbert Feig! (Feig!, 1958). The Identity Hypothesis holds that feelings, expressed or described in phenomenalist language, are identical to brain states as described by rapidly developing neural science. The discussions abound with Ockham's Razor, attacks on and defenses of emergentism, and appeals to Turing Machines as analogues (Hook, 1960).

This paper does not propose to enter that particular dispute, although the author believes the Identity theorists have made the better case thus far. Rather, it is here proposed ,to widen the frame of reference surrounding such disputes. For, underlying the arguments, are considerations as to the promise of physical science for explaining our feelings, attitudes, language, acts, and behavior. An appraisal of such promise would seem to demand that account be taken of sciences other than neurophysiology which purport to explain our feelings, language, and acts. The three sciences particularly concerned are psychology, sociology, and linguistics.

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