© 2012, Nicholas Havrilla
Recently there has been renewed interest in psycho-neural identity theory. This is in large part due to Heuristic Identity Theory, which brings some new insights into the relation between psychology and neuroscience. Perhaps even more significant is its concept of hypothetical identity that is positioned by McCauley & Bechtel to eclipse classical theories on psycho-neural identities in virtue of its relevance to scientific practice, specifically inter-level contexts. McCauley & Bechtel claim that in addition to providing an accurate representation of the practices of science Heuristic Identity Theory also answers some philosophical objections directed at classical identity theory. The correlation objection states there is no conceivable observation that could confirm/refute an identity but not the associated correlation. In this paper, I compare the classical psycho-neural identity theories of J.C.C. Smart and U.T. Place to Heuristic Identity Theory through their relation to the correlation objection. I aim to clarify the distinction between the two kinds of identity theory, one being philosophical while the other a method of science. Through this I will show that the correlation objection is not directed at Heuristic Identity Theory and therefore McCauley & Bechtel do not appropriately answer the objection.
Havrilla, Nicholas (2012) "Identity: Philosophy or Science?," Res Cogitans: Vol. 3: Iss. 1, Article 13.