In their work, type identity theorists have sought to explain the relationship between body and mind in terms of topic-neutral mental events. For instance, they have identified a range of concepts and phrases, including qualia, sense-data, and the ‘average electrician.’ These concepts are topic-neutral, which allows them to be applied to a broad range of topics. However, they do not explain phenomenal mental states, such as pain. This is a significant criticism of type identity theory, and it was argued by philosophers like Saul Kripke and David Chalmers that such a theory was inadequate.
A common objection to identity theory involves the ‘correlation objection,’ which refers to the implication that there is a correlation between mental and physical states. This objection has been prominent in recent discussions of consciousness. While neurophysiological approaches may isolate brain states that correlate with conscious states, they cannot provide sufficient rationale for identifying them as separate entities.
Self-identity is a complex concept. It involves the relationship between the mind and body. Psychologists have studied the self and its relationship to the environment. The body, as an expression of the mind, plays a vital role in self-identity. People often monitor their physical appearance and maintain their body’s health to achieve a sense of ontological security.
In some cases, the body may experience physical exile. However, this is a temporary reaction, not a permanent separation. People with mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, often struggle with maintaining a normal appearance.
During Giddens’ time, researchers have studied self-identity through the internal reference system that governs the relationship between body and mind. Giddens’ study used the concept of ‘normal appearance’ from Jean-Claude Kaufmann to investigate the relationship between self-identity and physical appearance. Kaufmann concluded that a person’s appearance should correspond to their internal state. When this is not the case, individuals become anxious and feel insecure. This separation directly affects self-identity and generates existential anxiety.
Contemporary philosophers in the ‘animalist’ camp critique this approach and argue that our selves are biological entities, not psychological entities. Nonetheless, both views share some common points. For example, both perspectives emphasize that the relationship between the body and mind is a fixed location.