Identifying the Mind: Selected Papers of U.T. Place

Identifying the Mind: Selected Papers of U.T. Place

Identifying the Mind: Selected Papers of U.T. Place

Identifying the Mind: Selected Papers of U.T. Place


This is the one and only book by the pioneer of the identity theory of mind. The collection focuses on Place's philosophy of mind and his contributions to neighboring issues in metaphysics and epistemology. It includes an autobiographical essay as well as a recent paper on the function and neural location of consciousness.


Ullin Place was in my opinion the true pioneer of what became known as the identity theory of mind (though Herbert Feigl deserves mention). His paper “Is consciousness a brain process?” emerged after discussions with me and C. B. Martin at the University of Adelaide. At the time, I was trying to argue against Place from the point of view of Rylean behaviorism, but in the end Place converted me. Place came to the department of philosophy of which I was head, as lecturer in psychology. He introduced scientific psychology and got a laboratory going. He paved the way for what after his time became a large and excellent department of psychology led by Malcolm Jeeves, whose approach was more physiological. Ullin Place continued to think of himself as a psychologist but I think that his true greatness was as a philosopher. The fact that he published his two seminal articles in the British Journal of Psychology delayed the recognition of his ideas by the philosophical community, but recognition did come. The present collection of papers will help to widen appreciation of his work, much of which was published in journals other than the most mainstream philosophical ones. Ullin did continue to think of himself as a psychologist, no less than a philosopher.

It was a great loss to the University of Adelaide and to Australian philosophy when Ullin decided for personal reasons to return to England. (I had first known him when he was an undergraduate and I a research fellow at Corpus Christi College, Oxford.) He became a lifelong friend, and on visits to Britain I enjoyed visiting with him and Peggy and walking with him to the North Yorkshire moors. It gives me great pleasure to write this preface and commend this volume of some of Ullin's papers and also to express my thanks to George Graham and Liz Valentine for their work as editors; they deserve the thanks of the philosophical and psychological public at large.

Melbourne, Australia June 2002

Jack Smart . . .

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