Book

Deconstructing the Mind

Stephen P. Stich

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780195126662
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199868322 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195126661.001.0001

Series: Philosophy of Mind Series

Deconstructing the Mind

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Eliminativism (or eliminative materialism) has been an important and provocative view in the philosophy of mind since the 1970s. Eliminativism claims that the mental states alluded to in our ordinary talk about the mind – particularly intentional states like beliefs, desires, and thoughts – are the posits of a badly mistaken “folk” theory, and thus, like phlogiston, witches and other posits of badly mistaken theories, they do not exist. This volume is a collection of essays that systematically examine the arguments for eliminativism. Ch. 2 illustrates the way in which connectionist models of belief and memory might be used to support the claim that folk psychology is a radically mistaken theory. Ch. 4 argues against the claim that simulation theory undermines the debate between eliminativists and their opponents. Chs. 3 and 5 argue that the case for the premises of the eliminativist argument is problematic in ways that have not been noted in previous discussions. The long title essay (Ch. 1) argues that, even if the premises are true, they do not support the eliminativist conclusion without the addition of some additional premise, and none of the additional premises that might fill the gap, are defensible. Though many writers rely on the theory of reference to fill the gap between premises and conclusion, it is argued that appeals to the theory of reference cannot do the ontological work required by the eliminativist argument.

Keywords: belief; connectionism; desire; eliminativism; folk psychology; intentional states; mental states; philosophy of mind; reference; simulation theory

Book.  232 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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Table of Contents

Deconstructing the Mind in Deconstructing the Mind

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What Is Folk Psychology? in Deconstructing the Mind

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Intentionality and Naturalism in Deconstructing the Mind

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