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Psychological Reports, 1972, 30, 759-770.

@ Psychological Reports 1972


Georgia State University
Summasy.-The perennial debate which has ensued over whether behavioral
or phenomenological approaches to psychology are the more "scientific" and
fruitful rests on fundamental confusions in the way the language and concepts of
these approaches are employed. This issue is analyzed in depth, sources of confusion are analyzed, and how the two approaches may be related is suggested.

The behaviorism-phecomenology issue has become a matter of perennial debate in psychology. Perhaps to write still another article about this area may
seem to be beating a dead horse. But in my view the horse is not dead, no matter how frustrated or tired he may be, nor has sufficient attention been paid to
the conceptzlal base which gives rise to this issue in the first place. I would like
to attend a moment to this conceptual base in order to see if some of the problems, arguments, and frustrations concerning this issue as we now experience
them do not drop away.
W e confuse ourselves so often when we go to talk about things. W e take
our language for granted, assuming that the language we speak is English, or
French, or German, or Russian, and that is that. But, as Wittgenstein has so
convincingly pointed out (1953), the language we speak is actually composed
of many smaller language-games. The appropriate language-game we are to employ is a function of what we want to say. Furthermore, the admixture of Ianguage-games, the interpositioning of the words of one language-game in another,
can lead to logical and conceptual absurdities (Ryle, 1949).
Psychologists, save for such persons as Mandler and Kessen (1959), have
been, by and large, unaware of the pervasiveness of their attinides toward language in the way they go about doing their particular thing. Two languagegames in particular have been the bane of modern psychology, and constitute
the subject matter of this particular piece.
The man-on-the-streex is a naive realist. H e believes in the existence of a
world quite independent of his senses. More accurately, he knows that if he
shrivels up and blows away, there will still be an Empire State Building and the
Green Bay Packers. Not so far as he is concerned, of course, but insofar as the
rest of the world is concernd. And the man-on-the-street employs a particular
language to describe that part of reality which is independent of his senses, a
language which I shall refer to in this piece as extrasentient discourse. "Ships,"
"shoes," "sealing wax," "caK~ages," and "kings," are all extrasentient words. So
also are "brain," "pH level," "sodium-potassium depolarization," and "nerve network pattern." Extrasentient discourse is the language of the "out there," the



"objective." The semantical and syntactical rules of extrasentient discourse permit of the predication of such properties, called physical, as "weight," "energy
level," "mass," and so on. There are extrasentient verbs, too, as well as nouns
and adjectives. These include such examples as "the rat runs," "the rat shrieks,"
"the rat jumps," or "the rat moves left or right, or around the cage, or into the
corner," the last expressions being adverbial.
I n general, we are able to get along rather well with the Norway rat in
terms of extrasencient disco~use. W e are able to talk about him all day with
relative ease. But the human confounds us. Not only does he speak extrasencient language as well or nearly as well as we, the scientist, but he utters a second, strange language, a language which follows different rules of semantics and
syntax. The human tells us he "feels tired," or is "depressed," or that he has
"butterflies in his stomach" and is somewhat "nauseous." In other words, he
speaks a language of experiences. There are verbs in this latter language-game,
too. A person tells us he is "thinking," or "imagining," or "daydreaming," or
that he is "working on a great idea."
Such talk! So goyish. What a troublemaker this human is. And we begin to riddle as we sit in our laboratories and study our records of operant levels.
"How heavy is an idea?" "Where is an idea? In a brain? Then why can't I
find an idea when I lop u p a brain? And, how woiild I even recognize one if I
found it?" "How big would an image be just supposing I found one in a brain?
A micron in diameter? Ten microns? Perhaps three centimeters?" But it
soon becomes obvious that the rules of semantics and syntax in the two languagegames will not permit us to mix the concepts together in this way. Thus, in
the many scores of years that have passed since Descartes formulated the modern dilemma of interactionism, philosophers have been struggling with a perplexing question: "How can a massless, incorporeal substance (mind) cause activity in, or produce motion in, a corporeal substance (body) ?" But the struggle was in vain, for the above question is not a question at all. It is a pseudoq u e s t i o n a n unquestion, as it were. The above construction forms a sentence
which is not a part of any language-game.
To recognize the above as an unquestion is not to resolve the problem,
however. W e are still faced with a creature who uses two distinctively different
language-games in referring to himself.
There are obviously only two main directions we can go when faced with
the two-language phenomenon. W e can discard one or the other language and
concept-set altogether, or we can try to live wich both. If in the discarding of
one language mode altogether one keeps experiential discourse as his mode of
speech, he becomes a radical phenomenalist. If, on the other hand, one clings
co extrasentient discourse alone, one becomes a radical behaviorist. Neither of
these positions is methodologically appealing, for it forces one into the position
of holding that the mode of discourse one is rejecting is somehow irrelevant, or,



at best, a needless duplicacion of the preferred language. As Bergmam ( 1956)

puts it, however, Watson's assertion that there was no such thing as consciousness is philosophically "silly."
Given the one-languege approach as untenable, however, how do we learn
to live with the two-language problem?
Certainly we would not want to claim on any grounds, especially behavioral
grounds, that there is no overt relationship between the two languages. After
all, when a person says that he is in pain, I have learned from past experience to
expect certain cotemporaneous behavioral manifestations: perhaps a pallid face,
perspiration of the hands, an increased rate of respiration, a drawn expression,
a groan, a change in the q~alityof the voice. Eventually I may come to associate
these behavioral manifestations of pain with the word "pain" to the extent that
I may hold that "pain" actually names the behavior itself. But, if so, I have
forgotten that the relationship of pain and pain-behavior is a contingent one. If
a person is laughing, smiling, joking, and carrying on a jovial conversation in
which he claims to be in incense pain, I may infer that he is lying or that he misunderstands how the word is commonly used. Yet this is not necessarily the
case. Documentary literature and folklore are both filled with stories of persons
dying from dread and agonizing diseases, yet who were unable to keep their suffering from the eyes of others.
A very intense conceptual and methodological problem is raised when
those suffering from the manic drives of reductionism begin attempting to uanslate experiential language into extrasentient terms. After all, one way to attempt to live with the two-language problem is to claim that everything that can
be said in the one language can be said in the other. In other words, one could
claim that the concepts of the one language are somehow reducible to the concepts of the other.
I have known persons, for instance, who have held that experiential utterances about pain are reducible to some set of behavioral concepts. Next, confusing physics with psychology, they take Bridgman at his word and proceed
operationally to define "pain." Eventually "pain" comes to name the deflection
of a galvanometer needle aztached to an eleccrode, imbedded in some nerve or
other. The problem, of course, occurs when the needle is deflected but the subject insists that he feels no "pain." Now the bizarre situation is created in
which an experimenter and subject may argue with one another as to whether
or not the subject feels pain! And, if the experimenter absolutely insists that his
definition of pain is the only genuine definition, or at least the only legitimate
one, the subject is now placed in the position of having to invent a new word altogether to name what he formerly called pain. This is made all the more bizarre
when one realizes that man knew for centuries that he was periodically in pain,
long before the invention of galvanometers or the science of neurology.
But the whole behavioristic-reductionistic muddle does not end here. What



kind of behavior is named by "thinking" or "problem solving." The idiosyncratic behavior which may accompany problem solving may vary from hyperactive, manic-like activity, to the docile quiet of Sherlock Holmes whom we are
told would simply draw his knees up under his chin in his chair, close his eyes
and sit motionless for long periods of time.
I do not want to deal any further with the notion of reductionism here. I
only want to present the view that I think the whole notion of reductionism is
untenable and ill-conceived, and hinges on some very dubious assumptions. I
shall defend this view elsewhere. In this present piece I want to show how we
can reject reductionism and still resolve the two-language problem.
Obviously, no methodologist can tolerate interactionistic concepts in his
work (Marx & Hillix, 1963). Occasionalism (McDougall, 1911) is at best a
joke from the psychological perspective. Parallelism (Hospers, 1953) is a relatively harmless concept for the purpose of psychological methodology, and, de
facto, many psychologists do make parallelistic assumptions in their work. Epiphenomenalism is yet another position which would be methodologically quite
tenable to most researchers (Greaves, 1966). Yet parallelism and epiphenomenalism each present their own conceptual and logical problems, including
parsimonious considerations.
But the above approaches are not the only possible ones in attempting to
bridge the gap between the cognitive and non-cognitive methodological positions.
Implicit in the whole behavioral/phenomenological affair is that these two
positions represent two putatively different ways of talking about the organism,
that they represent different kinds of concepts or have different kinds of referents. T o put it another way, behavioral/phenomenological positions have been
presented as if they are mutually exclusive positions, that somehow there is one
right way to talk about the organism, and largely through an accident of history,
the right way has come to mean the behavioral way. This is why I am now suggesting that this whole affair is a red herring issue, the result of concepnral mistakes and preconceptions which can be avoided altogether.
I am not going to pretend, however, that the conceptual scheme I am about
to present is an easy one. And neither is it a wholly original one, being strongly
influenced by Feigl (1961, 1966), Place (1956), Smart (1959), and Spinoza
(1919). Furthermore, the ontological dualism which has come down to us
with our culture forces certain conceptual sets on us from which it is difficult to
escape. Nevertheless, let us proceed as best we can.
We, as human beings, are caught up in a sort of dilemma when we try to
talk about ourselves. First of all, we are living organisms. Now, being an organism and talking about an organism are not the same thing. F~lrthermore,it
is not the same thing to talk about an organism and to talk about being an organism.
The language-game here, of course, is that of ontology, of that which exists,



of reality, if you prefer. Let us not quibble. Without any sort of philosophical
defense, let us allow that the pen with which I am writing exists, the paper on
which I am writing exists, the desk at which I sit exists. And let us allow that
each of these items is distinct from the other.
How do I talk about these items? Well, I can say, this item here, or that
item there. Or, I can say that the pen is red and the paper white. The desk is
made of birch, and stained in English oak. The pen is 6 in. long, the paper is
8% X 11 in., the desk is 3 X 6 ft.
Now let us hold thae I exist. D o not hang on the word "1." Let us just
suppose that an organism is sitting here writing, such that when that organism
refers to itself, or designates itself, or uses what in grammar we call reflexive
language, it calls itself "I." This is not to name some hidden creature inside the
organism, but to distinguish itself verbally from a "you," or a "he," or an "it,"
which are other existent things.
Now, let this organism which refers to itself as "I" talk about itself. It is 5
in. tall. It weighs 195 lb. It has hazel eyes. Now, let it describe itself behaviorally. No problem. The organism which calls itself I is writing a
paper, the organism periodically paces, looks into the distance, rubs its chin.
Thus, the language used to talk about the organism called I is no different
from the language used to talk about other objects. The language mode is extrasentient.
All right, now let the organism called I talk about what it is like to be the
pen with which he is writing.
Wait a minute. Prima facie the organism is not the pen. Being the pen
means being identical with the pen. I n other words, in order to be the pen,
the organism called I would have to be the pen. This is an important tautology.
Could the organism which calls itself I then talk about what it is like to be
the organism called I? Given that it has the power of language, of course it
What is it like, then, being this organism? Well, at this moment this organism is rather excited about what he has to say. But he is tired, also, and his
eyes burn. He has a crick in his neck, also.
What is all this stuff! Ach! "Excited?" "Tired?" "Eyes burn?" "Crick
in the neck?" What kind of nonsense language is this?
This is no nonsense at all to the organism which uttered these statements.
Nor ate these utterances ncnsensical to any other organism which understands
the meaning of these words.
Can we conclude, however, from the basis of the foregoing that because the
organism speaks in two different ways that there are two different things: the
organism and something called the organism's experiences? The answer is an
unequivocal no. Because t t e organism talks first about itself in extrasentient
terms, and then again in experiential terms, this in no way logically implies
that two different things are being named. There is not one being called the or-




ganism and another being called experiences-yet this is exactly what traditional
dualism has been conning us to believe.
This organism is a being (thing) in the same way a pen is a being (thing).
This organism is quite different, however, from the pen it is holding. This organism has limbs, a heart, lungs, bloodstream, and a brain, co mention only a
few choice omissions in the pen. The pen cannot tell us about its being because
it is not the right kind of thing to be aware of its being, let alone talk about
such. It simply does not have the necessary equipment for experiencing and
talking about it. But just because I do have the necessary equipment does not
make me any less unified than the pen, a Paramecium, a toad, or a walrus. It is
curious that the concept of a Paramecium within a Paramecium, or a toad within
a toad, has not caught on like the little invisible man within the man. And,
theologically speaking, it is curious chat when one reaches the phyletic level of
man a soul suddenly appears. Animals are automata; man has a soul. It is unfortunate chat gorillas and pigs do not discourse in language we can understand.
When they began to tell us about their aches and pains, their aspirations, their
fears, their feelings, we should have to talk about gorillas within gorillas and
pigs within pigs using our logic. The confusion these two modes of discourse
have caused is boundless!
All right, then, what exactly are we talking about when we use experiential
discourse? My assertion is that the referent of experiential language is the organism.
Wait another minute. Did we not just state above that when we talk about
the organism we use extrasentient discourse? Now you are saying that experiential language also talks about the organism.
My reply is that both of the assertions are true, but they do not talk about
the organism in the same way. What ultimately determines whether we utter
experiential or extrasentient language is the structure of the situation, or the
frame of reference, within which we find ourselves. If we perceive our task to
be that of describing the "out there," the object world, we choose extrasentient
language. This also applies to the organism called I. W e have no particular
difficulty in regarding ourselves as an object in the world of objects nor of
speaking of ourselves in appropriate extrasentient terms. On the other hand, if
we perceive our task to be the regarding of the organism referred to as "I" as subject, i.e., of describing our being, we select experiential language. T o put it another way: describing what an organism is like, and what it is like to be an organism are different tasks for which we employ different language. Nevertheless, whether this organism is referring to itself in experiential or extrasentient
language, it is still referring to this organism.
Why, then, the question follows, if the organism is referring to one thing,
viz., the organism, does it need two languages?
It is not a question of need in any motivational sense, but of need in a
logical sense. The organism is not mentally frail. It does not suffer from a



lack of wit. It simply is incapable of being simultaneously in a subjective and

objective orientation or frame of reference.
Suppose that I am imagining the proverbial patch of green and a neurologist
who is probing my brain says that he has isolated a characteristic pattern of
neural activity when I do this. Suppose he arranges mirrors so I can see what
is going on in my head end on the oscilloscopes to which I am attached such
that I can also witness the characteristic neural patterns which occur when I
imagine a patch of green. Am I not now in both frames of reference at once?
No, for I am first regarding myself a s the experiencer of the patch of green and
then as the object whose brain is doing so and so. N o matter how quickly I alternate from one orientation to another, I am never in both frames of reference,
or orientations, at once. Consequently, it is logically impossible for me to construct a legitimate statement of the sort: "The patch of green i s the change in the
electrical potential in the brain of the organism called I." There is, however,
the legitimate statement of the form: "When a certain pattern of brain activity
is present in the brain of chis organism, this same organism experiences a patch
of green, and vice versa."
My objection to identity-statements of the "an image is a brain process" sort
is that they fail to preserve the orientation or frame of reference distinction which
is at the root of experiential and extrasentient discourse. W e do not arrive at extrasentient and experiential concepts in the same way, and we do not intend to
convey the same things by them. T o attempt the identity-reduction commits a
semantical error.
There is a slightly different approach which both preserves the integriry of
the modes of discourse and allows us to be monistic. Instead of holding that
"ideas" and "brain processes" are identical concepts, as surely no one would seriously attempt to do, one can argue that the word "idea" and the word "brain
processes" name the same actual process in the brain. In ocher words, one can
maintain the logical independence of the words, as one must do if he is to avoid
a tautologous statement, while at the same time having a common link, viz.,
some aspect of the organism. It should be evident, however, that this link does
not permit of linguistic reductionism, for the link between the two languages
is not a linguistic link, it is a factual link.
But this is hardly a handicap, for as in all factual schemas, given one element of the factual relationship, we can infer the other. Hence, given that the
subject reports a patch of green, our factual relationship allows us to infer certain neurological processes are present and vice versa.
It should be made clear at the onset exactly who is doing the inferring. Attempts to "reduce" data about consciousness to behavior lead to ridiculous assertions about an individual's inferring certain data of consciousness from his behavior. On this view a person infers that he is in pain by referencing his behavior.
The inadequacies of this view are immediately evident, and again represent



the confusion which inevitably results from equating or identifying behavioral

and phenomenal concepts. O n the other hand, if we wish to argue that an "outside" observer somehow makes certain inferences about a subject's phenomenal
experiences on the basis of the subject's behavior, this is quite another matter.
The problems involved in acquiring such knowledge have been extensively explored by such writers as Ayer (1964), Malcolm (1964), and many others.
There is no need to duplicate their efforts.
It is important to our discussion, however, to review some of the conceptual
problems implicit in this frame of reference scheme as I have presented it here.
Let us look again at our claim. The theoretical stand being taken is that
certain neurological events referred to in extrasentient language are the same
events referred to in certain experiential language. In other words, the organism itself is the referent for each kind of discourse. This does not permit us to
claim, however, that an image, for instance, is the same thing as a neurological
event, for our discourse will not permit of such constructions (herein I differ
sharply from Place and Smart). The claim is, rather, that images and neurological events have a common reference in terms of the organism, and differ in their
conceptual character as a function of their being grounded in two different and
mutually exclusive frames of reference, or orientations, viz., the organism as subject and the organism as object.
The intention of the subject when using experiential discourse is not to
refer to some neurological event or other. As was pointed out before, experiential discourse existed for centuries before anything was known about brains or
nerves or synapses. Conversely, the intention of the neurophysiologist is not to
or images. The concepts of experiential discourse and
talk about conscio~~sness
that of extrasentient discourse are quite logically independent and in no way
imply one another except as a contingency.
The first link-up of the two conceptual sets occurred through the process
of correlation, largely through brain-damage studies. Especially during and after World Wars I and 11, certain types of brain lesions were seen to be accompanied by certain changes in experiential reports as well as in behavior. In the
past forty years, the study of so-called psychophysical co-ordinates of behavior
has become an area of considerable importance, culminating in the work of such
important researchers as Luria (1966).
It is often pointed out, however, that one cannot argue from a large correlation, even one-to-one correlation to any form of identity-hypothesis. Suppose I
find a perfect correlation between the presence of knives and forks at every
place setting in a large banquet hall. From this I cannot assert that a knife is a
fork. Furthermore, it is routinely pointed out that it would be impossible, in
principle, to design an experiment which could ever validate any sort of identityhypothesis. W e can equate things only if we can show that they are conceptually or operationally equivalent or if we can locate them at the same place at
the same time. I can say that an e q w s is a horse, because we can compare con-



cepts and find them to be the same. Or, we can point to an object in a field
somewhere and find that we give it a different name, although the names have
an identical referent.
I n the case of images and neural events, however, I have no such ability.
The two terms ate conce~tuallyfar different and, since I cannot apply spatial
predicates to experiential language, I can never p i n t to a common referent in
space. The strongest empirical hypothesis I can ever validate concerning the
relation of images and neural events, is that when one is temporally present, the
other is also, and vice versa.
Still another problem arises out of the peculiar conceptual status of the term
organism in my approach to the problem of the two modes of discourse. Ex
hypothesi, extrasentient discourse, regardless how much it is complicated, fails
to completely describe the organism, for it refers to only one aspect of the organism, viz., its objective status or orientation. On the other hand, experiential
language describes only t h subjective
stams or orientation in regard to the organism. The organism, however, is viewed as lying in both frames of reference
at once, i.e., the organism is simultaneously a subjective and objective being or
thing. Yet it is logically inconceivable that any language could be devised which
could describe the organism qua organism, i.e., a language neither experiential
or extrasentient, yet a language to which each is reducible. To put it another
way, the theory I have described is a double-aspect theory in which organism
becomes a primitive, undefinable concept. The closest we could ever come to
describing an organism would be through the conjoining of all possible correlatable experiential and extrasentient statements. This would, however, constitute a parallelism and not a monism.
I am, of course, aware of these difficulties, and more, but I am not sure exactly how important they are. The empirical objections in terms of the invalidatability of identity or double-aspect hypotheses do not bother me. W e ate,
after all, working with a theory here, not an hypothesis. Theories ate not capable of being true or false. They are good or bad, productive or unproductive.
The ultimate justification of a theory is to be found solely in pragmatic considerations. Even the coveted principle of parsimony, so often used as a conceptual ax, is justified only on pragmatic grounds. Eliteness has no intrinsic
value. A theory is said to be validatable if it predicts previously unobserved
events and explains and organizes already existent data. Later we shall explore
some of the predictions of the present theory and see that they can, in principle,
be verified or falsified.
The concepmal problems are another matter and I should best deal with
them in this way. The conditions of our existence and the repertoire of our
possible experiences impose certain limits on our ability to reason about the
world. I n this respect I am very much a Kantian. Norhing has so much occupied the history of the problem of knowledge as the dichotomy between subject
and object. The pendulum has swung smugly from materialisni to idealism a



number of times and in a number of guises, and scores of attempts have been
made to reduce subject-object language either to one another or to a common
language. Only humans seem to have this problem, for only humans seem to
use language to any appreciable extent. What I am suggesting, however, is
that the condition of our existence imposes the subject-object dichotomy on us
inescapably. W e are simultaneously an object in a world of objects and an experiencing being. The reason I cannot devise a reductionistic language in which
to describe myself is that the conditions of my existence prohibit any possibility
of entering into an experiential world in which I am neither subject nor object
or into an extrasentient world in which I am one with all objects.
The one possible exception to this claim is that experience referred to as
the "mystical state" in which the predominant description is a "feeling of oneness," or a "feeling of unity with the All" (James, 1902). I certainly do not
make light of such claims, for the I-thou/I-it distinction does nor seem to be
prevalent in newborn children and is developed only through perceptual experience. Furthermore, the sharpness of the I-thou distinction seems to be
largely dissolved through training in Zen, through the effects of such drugs as
LSD, through religious experiences, autohypnosis, or plain old mystical states.
Even so, written or oral discourse while in these various states still maintains its
dualistic flavor, and when a person under the influence of LSD claims to be
One with the flower petals at which he is gazing or claims to be the flower itself, we are more likely to regard such language as metaphorical or projective.
The person involved in the mystical experience is generally quite cognizant of
his linguistic limitations and knowingly resorts to the use of metaphors. Universally the claim is found that the "pure" mystical experience is ineffable
(James, 1902). The One or the All in mystical language thus takes on the same
quality of the primitive and undefinable as our concept organism.
Obviously, I am not claiming that organism is a mystical term, though I am
sure some reader might have some fun with this notion. My claim is simply
that when we attempt to dissolve the subject-object dichotomy, we dissolve our
language as well. This is just as true whether the dissolution takes the form
of reductionism to materialistic or phenomenalistic terms, or whether the dissolution takes the form of a common, underlying monism. Given that the terms
ideas and neural events are not reducible to one another but refer to a common
entity, one is immediately moved to ask what the entity is like. But there are
no words. The entity is a logical construct made necessary by the demands of
the language-games we play, and from which we cannot escape.
There is nothing to bemoan in this state of affairs. Just because the dictates of our language which reflect the conditions of our existence compel us
to deal with the problem in this way, this does not mean that organisms do not
exist. I am an organism; I exist. You are an organism; you exist. Our problem
is not whether organisms exist; this has never been a problem in our discussion.
The problem, if it be a problem at all, is that we cannot talk about the organism



qua organism because of the impossibility of devising such a language. W e can

talk about characteristics of the organism all night: it chinks, feels, moves,
speaks, eats, sleeps, runs, jumps, swims, writes music, listens to music, etc. W e
can predicate literally thousands of things about organisms. Buc we cannot
predicate organismic essences of organisms.
What empirical hypotheses follow from our theory? Let us list just a few:
( a ) Given certain brain states of an organism, certain phenomenal states can be
inferred and vice versa, based on prior correlational data. ( b ) The repetition of
a given neural patcern would be cotemporaneous with the repetition of a given
phenomenological pattern. ( c ) Phenomenological experiences and specifiable
neural activities are always exactly cotempraneous occurrences. ( d ) Phenomenological activity could nor take place apart from the locus of the organism. ( e ) Phenomenological experiences are not, in principle, private experiences.
Admittedly, hypotheses a, 6, and c are neither particularly exciting or revealing. One might describe them as "old hat." Yet hypothesis d is of crucial
importance, for its refutation would strike a telling blow to our theory. This is
also true of hypotheses a, 6, and c, though they would be somewhat harder to refute based on technological limitations. If the science-fiction and grand guignol
aspects of psychic research could be thrown away, some meaningful experiments
might be performed in this area, experiments which might take this important
hypothesis to task. The verification of such elusive "phenomena" as astral projection or clairvoyance would be significant in the rejection of this hypothesis.
Hypothesis e is as crucial to the support of the theory as hypothesis d. Hypothesis e is especially interescing since no form of Cartesian dualism would
predict it, in fact, would predict precisely the opposite. Furthermore, hypochesis e is thoroughly at odds with our folklore, both in and out of psychology,
as well as being at odds with our common-sense view of personal identity.
The conceptual basis for hypothesis e may be understood in terms of a
thought-experiment which I will refer to as the "Siamese brain" experiment.
Suppose we take two subjects, A and B, and attach the left optical cortex of
A to the right optical cortex of B. When the juncture is made we can conceptually no longer speak of "the right optical cortex of A or "the left optical
cortex of B," but only of the "common cortex" of A and B.
now that B closes his eyes and we show a red card to A. Then
-suppose we ask B what he is experiencing and he tells us he experiences something red. W e show A a blue card, and B reports blue, etc. Then we turn the
situation around and show the cards to B and ask for A's report. Given these
conditions there would be no logical
basis on which to assert that A had an experience and B had an experience, making two experiences in all. In other
words, from a common neurological event we cannot argue that two different
perceptual events occurred. To do so would be to confuse the perceptual report
with the perceptual event, and to argue that since one report came from A's



mouth and another from B's, there were two events. There were only two reports.
The point I am making, of course, is that the reason I do not experience
what you experience simply by looking at your brain activity is that I am not a
part of your system. The brain, after all, is easily viewed as a system of closed
circuits, or rather as a closed electrical system. Insofar as I become merged with
your system, therefore, insofar as I become neurologically hooked u p with you,
as it were, to that extent would we have common experiences.
All this, of course, represents a great oversimplification. A thought-experiment is not in any way designed to be a laboratory experiment or to substitute for it. It is designed to test and explore concepts. Yet with our vastly
accelerating knowledge of neurophysiology and ne~~rophysiological
it will not be far off before some experimental tests of hypothesis e will be
In laying a firm theoretical foundation which removes the dualistic stigma
from our heritage without doing injustice to our language, we still have not resolved all of the main problems associated with behavioral/phenomenological
issues. W e have treated only one aspect, the most important aspect, of the issues. There are yet other conceptual problems which have led to the behavioral/
phenomenological split. To some of these we will later turn our attention.
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Accepted February 28, 1972.