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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: June 2012

13 - Kripke and Cartesianism

Summary

The metaphysical and semantical ideas Saul Kripke advanced in the early 1970s, in Naming and Necessity and "Identity and Necessity", have found wide acceptance among philosophers. But what is perhaps the most intriguing application he made of these ideas was in his discussion of the mind/body problem, where his arguments and conclusions are widely regarded as Cartesian in spirit. Materialist views about the mind are often expressed in identity statements. At one time, in the 1950s, it was widely held that there are "contingent identities" between mental and physical entities. Many materialists are functionalists, and think that mental states are "multiply realizable" in the physical. This means that pain, for example, might be realized in one way in us - in C-fiber stimulation, for example - and in some quite different way in some other species.

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