David Lewis Research Paper

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David Lewis, an American philosopher and professor, proposes the thought experiment on what pain is. Lewis being both a materialist and functionalist, constructs an identity theory where the experience of something painful, is identical to the neural state of pain, because both occupy the same functional role of that state. His mixed theory argues that one could be considered in pain based off the population the individual is from. Both also true of any other neural state or experience. But his use of the example of pain as a neural state isn’t inclusive of the ambiguity of other neural states. Different “emotions” may serve a single causal role but have different neural states. For the purpose of this paper I will explain and evaluate Lewis’s arguments and counterexamples. Furthermore, I will propose another counterexample to his theory and justify its merit. This in effect will disprove Lewis’s claim that any neural state is identical to the functional role of an experience.…show more content…
These physical states could be anything from a chemical reaction to a biological part of the brain. Materialism is the belief that all experiences come from or are the same as physical states. Functionalism is the belief that mental states are identified by what they do or their functional/causal roles. Neural states are the physical states whose presence is necessary and regulatory of any kind of experience. In Lewis’s work, he argues that, by some transitive property, the experience is identical to a certain neural state where both occupy the same causal role. So all experiences are defined by their function. For this reason he is inclined to call upon functionalism because the only thing capable of playing this functional role are physical

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