John W. Godbey, Jr.
It is sometimes argued that Central-State Materialism (CSM) would be falsified if the existence of parapsychological phenomena were established. For example, Keith Campbell has written that "if even a single example of . . . paranormal phenomena is genuine, Central-State Materialism is false. 1 Similarly, D. M. Armstrong gives several possible ways of 'explaining away' the data of parapsychology, and then remarks that "If these ways of escape prove unsatisfactory, Central-State Materialism cannot be the whole truth about the mind." 2 It is these assertions which I wish to refute in this paper.
CSM is one form of the Identity Theory of mind and body (IT). By the 'Identity Theory' I mean the theory which holds that all mental states are as a matter of fact identical with states of the body. Some philosophers, such as Smart and Armstrong, believe that the bodily states in question are states of the central nervous system, and this is why they call their materialism 'Central-State Materialism.' Their theory is a version of materialism because they believe that the central nervous system and all of its states and properties are physical or material, or physical neutral. (States or properties are 'physical neutral' if, even though they are not physical, non-living physical bodies can be in them, or have them. Being beautiful or being the third member of a series are examples of physical
Reprinted from Analysis, volume 36 ( 1975), pp. 22-25, by permission of the author.