more from David M. Armstrong

Single Idea 7432

[catalogued under 17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 7. Anti-Physicalism / b. Multiple realisability]

Full Idea

If the mental is just that which plays a causal role then there is the possibility, which may even be an empirical possibility, that the causal role of tokens of the same mental type should be filled by tokens of significantly different physical types.


'Tokens' are individual items

Gist of Idea

One mental role might be filled by a variety of physical types


David M. Armstrong (Pref to new 'Materialist Theory' [1992], p.xiv)

Book Reference

Armstrong,D.M.: 'A Materialist Theory of Mind' [Routledge 1993], p.-10

A Reaction

This allows for multiple realisability in a physicalist framework. Fear has the same role in all animals, but may be realised in physically different ways. I go further, and say that two mental states could differ, while playing the same role.