more from Hilary Putnam

Single Idea 2591

[catalogued under 17. Mind and Body / B. Behaviourism / 4. Behaviourism Critique]

Full Idea

Two animals with all motor nerves cut will have the same actual and potential behaviour (i.e. none), but if only one has uncut pain fibres, it will feel pain where the other won't.

Gist of Idea

Total paralysis would mean that there were mental states but no behaviour at all


Hilary Putnam (The Nature of Mental States [1968], p.57)

Book Reference

'The Philosophy of Mind', ed/tr. Beakley,B /Ludlow P [MIT 1992], p.57

A Reaction

This is a splendidly literal and practical argument against behaviourism - if you prevent all the behaviour, you don't thereby prevent the experience. Clearly we have to say something about what is inside the 'black box' of the mind.