Smart's Theory Of Normal Percipients

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3.2.2 Smart and sensations According to Smart, everything must be physical, and this includes “states of consciousness” (Smart, 1959, p.53.) Smart argues for the closest possible identity between consciousness and brain. Consciousness is not just correlated, for correlation would entail dualism (Smart, 1959, p.53). Smart argues that the perception of an event is a direct result of a “brain state” that is produced by the “observable event” (Smart, 1959, p.58), and this brain state is produced by the neurological properties of the brain – those properties seems to be the same for all the subjects so long as they are “normal percipient” (Smart, 1959, p. 59) This idea of the normal percipient is used by Smart to explain whether the quality of…show more content…
However, Smart argues that the ‘verbal report’ does not say anything about whether what is going on is physical or not; that is to say, the concept is “topic-neutral” (Smart, 1959, p.60). In other words, to say “there is something going on which is like what is going on when…” “is neutral about “what it is going on” (Smart, 1959, p. 60), this is, a sensation like pain can be a process in the brain, but is not needed to know that to report the pain, in other words, pain and a brain process are not two different things that I report:, hence “ report that one thing is like another without being able to state the respect in which it is like” (Smart, 1959, p.61), and this ‘topic-neutral’ report may show that experience is not over and above brain process, however, the nature of the sensation is better determined by empirical means, and eventually in Smart’s view, science will determine that “what is going on...” is a specific brain process “that have lots of neurological properties” (Smart, 1959, p.66) . However, unlike Place, Smart does not believe that the theory that consciousness as a brain process can be empirically demonstrated: “there is no conceivable experiment which could decide between materialism and epiphenomenalism” (Smart, 1959, p.65). However, we must nonetheless welcome whatever can be empirically proven; for the sake of “simplicity” that which is in principle empirical provable should be chosen over other explanations (Smart, 1959, p.66). All of this suggests to Smart, that “experience” and “brain process” are the same (Smart, 1959, p.62). However, Smart is aware of the problems of the language- that the report of an experience cannot be the same as the report of a “material process” (Smart, 1959,

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