Journal Article

Meta-scientific Eliminativism: A Reconsideration of Chomsky's Review of Skinner's Verbal Behavior

John Collins

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 58, issue 4, pages 625-658
Published in print December 2007 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online January 2007 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axm041
Meta-scientific Eliminativism: A Reconsideration of Chomsky's Review of Skinner's Verbal Behavior

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The paper considers our ordinary mentalistic discourse in relation to what we should expect from any genuine science of the mind. A meta-scientific eliminativism is commended and distinguished from the more familiar eliminativism of Skinner and the Churchlands. Meta-scientific eliminativism views folk psychology qua folksy as unsuited to offer insight into the structure of cognition, although it might otherwise be indispensable for our social commerce and self-understanding. This position flows from a general thesis that scientific advance is marked by an eschewal of folk understanding. The latter half of the paper argues that, contrary to the received view, Chomsky's review of Skinner offers not just an argument against Skinner's eliminativism, but, more centrally, one in favour of the second eliminativism. 1

Introduction

2

Preliminaries: What Meta-scientific Eliminativism is Not

3

Meta-scientific Eliminativism 3.1

Folk psychology and cognitive science

4

Two Readings of Chomsky's Review of Skinner

5

Issues of Interpretation 5.1

A grammar as a theory

5.2

Cartesian linguistics

5.3

Common cause

6

Chomsky's Current View

Journal Article.  15740 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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