Central Problems of Philosophy
Prof. Stephen Schiffer
The property of occurring at noon.
The property of being a state that is caused by a kick and in turn causes a wince.
Behaviorism: Mental properties are behavioral properties, in particular dispositions to behave in certain ways.
Physicalism: Mental properties are neurophysiological properties of the brain.
Functionalism: Mental properties are functional properties, where a functional property is a certain sort of topic-neutral property—viz., the property of having some property that plays such-and-such causal role. (This allows the functionalist to say that the properties that realize these properties are neurophysiological properties, thereby making mental properties materialistically respectable. Note on the usage of ‘functionalism’. This term is sometimes used for those versions of physicalism, such as Armstrong’s, wherein functional properties determine which physical properties are identical to mental properties.)
"The definitive characteristic of any [type of mental state] as such is its causal role, its syndrome of most typical causes and effects. But we materialists believe that these causal roles which belong by analytic necessity to [mental states] belong in fact to certain physical states. Since those physical states possess the definitive characteristics of [mental states], they must be [mental states]." (Lewis, "Argument for the Identity Theory," 100; I’ve changed his text slightly. This article can be a paper topic.)
Mental state M = the occupant of causal role R (by definition of M).
Neural state N = the occupant of causal role R (by the physiological theory).
\ Mental state M = neural state N (by transitivity of =).
Kicking a person in the shins causes her to be in pain, and being in pain causes her to wince.
Kicking a person in the shins causes her to being in X, and being in X causes her to wince.
Pain =def the X such that kicking a person in the shins causes her to be in X, and being in X causes her to wince.
Neural state N is in fact the X such that kicking a person in the shins causes her to be in X, and being in X causes her to wince.
Ergo, pain = neural state N.
Ralph believes that George Eliot adored groundhogs.
Ralph believes that Mary Ann Evans adored woodchucks.