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Abstract: Aside from brute force, there are several philosophically respectable ways of eliminating the mental. In recent years the most popular elimination strategy has been directed against our common sense or folk psychological understanding of the mental. The strategy goes by the name of eliminative materialism (or eliminativism, in short). The motivation behind this strategy seems to be the following. If common sense psychology can be construed as the principled theory of the mental, whose vocabulary and principles implicitly define what counts as mental, then eliminating the theory is eliminating its subject matter. If the theory is shown to be false, then its subject matter does not exist. If, in other words, common sense psychology can be shown to describe and explain nothing real in human cognition, then the mental itself is a fiction
Abstract: It turned out that there was no phlogiston, no caloric fluid, and no luminiferous ether. Might it turn out that there are no beliefs and desires? Patricia and Paul Churchland say yes} We say no. In part one we give our positive argument for the existence of beliefs and desires
Abstract: The 1960s saw heated discussion of Eliminative Materialism in regard to sensations and their phenomenal features. Thus directed, Eliminative Materialism is materialism or physicalism plus the distinctive and truly radical thesis that there have never occurred any sensations; no one has ever experienced a sensation. This view attracted few adherents(!), though to this day some philosophers are Eliminativists with respect to various alleged phenomenal features of sensations
Abstract: Paul Churchland has become famous for holding three controversial and interrelated doctrines which he put forward in early papers and in his first book. Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind (1979): eliminative materialism, the doctrine of the plasticity of perception, and a general network theory of language. In his latest book, The Engine of Reason, the Seat of the Soul (1995), Churchland aims to make some results of connectionist neuroscience available to the general public and explores the philosophical and social consequences that neuroscience is likely to have. I argue that these results of neuroscience refute the three doctrines that Churchland advocated in his earlier works. Yet youthful dreams do not die easily and Churchland is reluctant to relinquish his early views
Abstract: Paul Churchland's epistemology contains a tension between two positions, which I will call pragmatic pluralism and eliminative materialism. Pragmatic pluralism became predominant as Churchland's epistemology became more neurocomputationally inspired, which saved him from the skepticism implicit in certain passages of the theory of reduction he outlined in Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind. However, once he replaces eliminativism with a neurologically inspired pragmatic pluralism, Churchland 1) cannot claim that folk psychology might be a false theory, in any significant sense 2) cannot claim that the concepts of Folk psychology might be empty of extension and lack reference. 3) cannot sustain Churchland's criticism of Dennett's "intentional stance" . 4) cannot claim to be a form of scientific realism, in the sense of believing that what science describes is somehow realer that what other conceptual systems describe
Abstract: Over the last two decades, debates over the viability of commonsense psychology have been center stage in both cognitive science and the philosophy of mind. Eliminativists have argued that advances in cognitive science and neuroscience will ultimately justify a rejection of our "folk" theory of the mind, and of its ontology. In the first half of this book Stich, who was at one time a leading advocate of eliminativism, maintains that even if the sciences develop in the ways that eliminativists foresee, none of the arguments for ontological elimination are tenable. Rather than being resolved by science, he contends, these ontological disputes will be settled by a pragmatic process in which social and political considerations have a major role to play. In later chapters, Stich argues that the widespread worry about "naturalizing" psychological properties is deeply confused, since there is no plausible account of what naturalizing requires on which the failure of the naturalization project would lead to eliminativism. He also offers a detailed analysis of the many different notions of folk psychology to be found in philosophy and psychology, and argues that simulation theory, which purports to be an alternative to folk psychology, is not supported by recent experimental findings