Forum Philosophicum

Volume 27, Issue 1, Spring 2022

Babalola Joseph BalogunOrcid-ID
Pages 27-49

Resolving the Conceptual Problem of Other Minds through the Identity-Based Model
A Critique of Christopher Peacocke’s “Interlocking Account”

Christopher Peacocke’s Interlocking Account offers an example of the identity-based strategy for resolving the conceptual problem of other minds. According to the Identity Model, the sameness of meaning of a mental concept across inter-subjective domains is guaranteed by the sameness of the mental states to which the concept refers. Hence, for example, the meaning of the concept “pain” is fixed by the sameness of the sensation of pain to which the concept refers across inter-subjective fields. As an instance of this model, the Interlocking Account draws its most fundamental strength from the claim that human beings are similar in so far as they are carriers of conscious mental states, and that similar mental concepts have similar mental contents across individuals. The implication of this is that when similar mental concepts are used to describe contents of experience by different persons, the meanings of the concepts used are fixed by the similarity of the contents of experience to which the concepts refer. This paper argues that this identity-based strategy fails for three main reasons: (1) the identity relation it purports to establish between one’s own case and those of others is difficult to achieve; (2) the sense in which the relation of one's mind and those of others exhibits that identity is not clear; and (3) it is an argument by analogy in disguise.