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Abstract: In their historical overview of cognitive science, Bechtel, Abraham- son and Graham (1999) describe the ﬁeld as expanding in focus be- ginning in the mid-1980s. The ﬁeld had spent the previous 25 years on internalist, high-level GOFAI (“good old fashioned artiﬁcial intelli- gence” [Haugeland 1985]), and was ﬁnally moving “outwards into the environment and downards into the brain” (Bechtel et al, 1999, p.75). One important force behind the downward movement was Patricia Churchland’s Neurophilosophy (1986). This book began a movement bearing its name, one that truly came of age in 1999 when Kath- leen Akins won a million-dollar fellowship to begin the McDonnell Project in Philosophy and the Neurosciences. The McDonnell Project put neurophilosophy at the forefront of philosophy of mind and cogni- tive science, yielding proliferating articles, conferences, special journal issues and books. In two major new books, neurophilosophers Patricia Churchland (2002) and John Bickle (2003) clearly feel this newfound prominence: Churchland mocks those who do not apply ﬁndings in neuroscience to philosophical problems as “no-brainers”; Bickle mocks anyone with traditional philosophical concerns, including “naturalistic philosophers of mind” and other neurophilosophers
Abstract: In this paper I critically examine the line of reasoning that has recently appeared in the literature that connects connectionism with eliminativism. This line of reasoning has it that if connectionist models turn out accurately to characterize our cognition, then beliefs, desires and the other intentional entities of commonsense psychology will be eliminated from our theoretical ontology. In complete contrast I argue (1) that not only is this line of reasoning mistaken about the eliminativist tendencies of connectionist models, but (2) that these models have the potential to provide a more robust vindication of commonsense psychology than classical computational models