A CLARIFICATORY DEFENSE OF ELIMINATIVE MATERIALISM

2022-3-18
Tümkaya, Serdal
This dissertation aims to clarify the true meaning, scope, and target of eliminative materialism (EM). Though its name suggests that the position tells us to empty the content of mind, the real lesson of EM is that folk psychology (FP) is not in charge, and that “we must confront the issue of the descriptive integrity and explanatory efficacy of folk psychology for what it is: an empirical question.” To see how this is so, we must recognize the several formulations of the position and their interrelations. EM, at the ontological level, concerns the idea that it is a priori reasonable to think that the whole FP framework might one day wither away as the relevant sciences proceed. At the methodological level, it aims to free the scientific study of cognition and human behavior from the harmful constraints of FP. Following Paul Smolensky’s remarks in his seminal paper on connectionism, my treatment of the Churchlands’ EM is intended as a formulation of eliminativism that is at once strong enough to form a major philosophy of mind hypothesis, comprehensive enough to face several complex challenges, and sound enough to resist many objections in principle. Only after having achieved that, can we commence to assess the scientific adequacy of eliminativism’s positive proposal.

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Citation Formats
S. Tümkaya, “A CLARIFICATORY DEFENSE OF ELIMINATIVE MATERIALISM,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2022.