The Identity Theory of Mind
Just on the heels of listening to the Audible.com rendition of Jeffrey Hawkins’s “On Intelligence,” it seems only befitting to discover the January 2000 treatise, The Identity Theory of Mind (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) has been upgraded within the past ten days:<blockquote>The identity theory of mind holds that states and processes of the mind are identical to states and processes of the brain … to the effect that these experiences just are brain processes, not merely correlated with brain processes (J. J. C. Smart).</blockquote>Much of Hawkins’s thesis revolves around similar ideas, and he goes to great lengths to describe a plausible framework for exactly HOW the mind emerges from two very simple fundamental operations: storage and prediction. Hawkins theorizes that through auto-associative, invariant, hierarchical interactions of stored sequences of patterns (brain states), we become conscious, self-aware. To this layman, it is a highly fascinating and pragmatic contribution.
Yes, there is much more to it, and Hawkins concedes that many strictly utilitarian neuroanatomists could well take him to task on any number of specifics; however, suffice to say that Hawkins seems to have perfectly prepped the reader (or listener in this case) to consider JJC Smart’s work – the subject of this entry – over the coming week.