Reductive Materialism

Topics: Mind, Philosophy of mind, Dualism Pages: 3 (781 words) Published: April 29, 2013
Reductive Materialism:

Reductive materialism is a 'sub theory' or a version of Physicalism. It suggests that sensations of the mind correlate exactly to physical 'movements' of the brain. In other words, every thought or experience which occurs in your mind, can be found as activity in your brain. This does not mean however, that the mind and the brain are the same thing, just that they are both different experiences of the same thing. For example, a neuroscientist may be able to study your brain activity as you experience it in your mind. A problem with this theory when applied, is that two different people having the same thought, will have the identical brain activity. But the thoughts of one person are subjective to their personal experiences and the context which they attribute to that thought. This makes it very difficult to prove that there are set physical movements in the brain for every separate thought, as thoughts or experiences in the mind can differ ever so slightly. Reductive materialists have rebutted this critique, by stating that there are two different distinctions of thoughts, and they label these as the 'type' and the 'token'. The 'type', refers to the thing which is shared by the two people, for example, they're both feeling pain. The 'token', refers to the particularity of the type, so the subtle difference between the pain each person is experiencing. Therefore, the events in the brain will be of the same type, but of a different token, (one person may have C-fibres firing in their brain, while the other has B-fibres firing). Another flaw in the theory is it assume that our brains are all capable of the same movements, (as our brains are mostly identical), meaning that our minds are all capable of identical instances (tokens) of experience. This is unconvincing, because our thoughts result from personal experiences, making it impossible for others to feel the same. It also poses that our thoughts can be triggered directly from physical...
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