Token Identity Theories

Helen Steward

in The Ontology of Mind

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780198250647
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191681318 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Philosophical Monographs

Token Identity Theories

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This chapter argues that the mistakes embodied in the view of causation called network model — the view according to which states are to be thought of as separate, causally efficacious particulars, each of which acts in concert with other events and states in a causal network — have lent illusory support to the token identity theory, and to other particularist theories of mind. It argues for the strong claim that the token identity theory is not only untrue of beliefs, desires, and the like, but that without the support provided by the imagery associated with the mistaken causal picture, it is probably unintelligible, conceived of as a theory which encompasses these states. The chapter makes out a case for the correlative thesis that certain conditions on the intelligibility of identity statements which are automatically satisfied where the terms of the identity are genuine particulars go unfulfilled in the case of the token state identities which are of interest to the philosopher of mind — identities between ‘token states’ like beliefs and desires and so-called ‘token states of the brain’ (or of its parts).

Keywords: network model; token identity; causation; philosophy of mind

Chapter.  6332 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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