Clarence Chen

The Mind-Body Problem: A Critique of Type Identity Theory
Volume 7 | Issue IV | December 2023
Harrow International School Hong Kong ’24 | Hong Kong SAR, China
Stanford University ’28
Upon first reading Thomas Nagel’s “What Is It Like to be a Bat?,” I was struck by our limited understanding of consciousness. This triggered a curiosity about why our knowledge is so constrained, leading me to discern that modern approaches often neglect ambiguity and radical ideas in favour of definitive answers. Inspired by this revelation, I delivered a TEDx Talk titled “Embracing Ambiguity,” advocating for radical thinking as a means to shed new light on longstanding dilemmas. My paper published in The Schola was born out of a desire to resolve the problem I had highlighted in my TEDx Talk. I delved into discussions critiquing modern reductive theories, such as type identity theory and emergentism, in an attempt to expose the inadequacies of traditional perspectives within the philosophy of mind. The journal’s rigorous review process helped refine my argument’s logic, enhanced my writing’s clarity, and acquainted me with academic writing conventions – skills typically not taught in high school. Through my paper, I hope to illuminate the challenges faced by reductive physicalist theories and to stimulate thought about what steps we might take next – whether that involves refining these theories or venturing in a new direction entirely. I plan to study philosophy in college and hope to eventually solve the mind-body problem and the hard problem of consciousness. Apart from academics, I enjoy being a taekwondo teacher, president of ethics society, and head boy at Harrow Hong Kong.
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