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Summary Eliminative materialism is a revisionary view in the philosophy of mind and of cognitive science, according to which our ordinary, folk psychological notions and categories of mental states are empty, that is, they do not stand for anything in objective reality. Ordinary categories of mental states include propositional attitudes (such as belief, desire, fear) and phenomenal states (such as the subjective aspect of pain, pleasure, colour perception, etc.). The main point of eliminative materialism is that categorization of mental states according to our ordinary, everyday understanding is illegitimate, because it is not supported by the best scientific taxonomies that deal with mental life, such as neuroscience. Some eliminative materialist authors add the further claim that future neuroscience will in fact eliminate all non-scientific vocabulary related to the domain of mental states. 
Key works Early formulations of the view are due to Quine 1960 and Feyerabend 1963. Rorty 1965 was the first influential and elaborate statement and endorsement of the view, later dubbed as "eliminative materialism" by Cornman 1968. Its version that attacks propositional attitudes have been elaborated by Churchland 1981, Churchland 1984, Churchland 1986, and Stich 1983. The literature that is critical of the view is considerable. Some works include Kitcher 1984, Horgan & Woodward 1985, Baker 1987, and Jackson & Pettit 1990.
Introductions Edited collections containing articles for and against the view are Bogdan 1991 and Christensen & Turner 1993. Introductions include Heil 2004, Braddon-Mitchell 2007, and Mandik 2013.
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  1. R. I. Aaron (1952). Dispensing with Mind. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 52:225-242.
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  2. Marcus P. Adams (2014). The Wax and the Mechanical Mind: Reexamining Hobbes's Objections to Descartes's Meditations. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (3):403-424.
  3. James W. Austin (1975). Rorty's Materialism. Auslegung 3 (November):20-28.
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  4. R. Bernstein (1968). The Challenge of Scientific Materialism. International Philosophical Quarterly 8 (June):252-75.
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  5. Charlotte Blease (2011). Eliminative Materialism. In Michael Bruce & Steven Barbone (eds.), Just the Arguments: 100 of the Most Important Arguments in Western Philosophy. Wiley-Blackwell.
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  6. Paul A. Boghossian (2008). Content and Justification: Philosophical Papers. OUP Oxford.
    Content and Justification presents a series of essays by Paul Boghossian on the theory of content and on its relation to the phenomenon of a priori knowledge. -/- Part one comprises essays on the nature of rule-following and its relation to the problem of mental content; on the intelligibility of eliminativist views of the mental; on the prospects for a naturalistic reduction of mental content; and on the currently influential view that meaning is a normative notion. -/- Part two includes (...)
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  7. Glenn Braddock (2002). Eliminativism and Indeterminate Consciousness. Philosophical Psychology 15 (1):37-54.
    One of Daniel Dennett's most sophisticated arguments for his eliminativism about phenomenological properties centers around the color phi phenomenon. He attempts to show that there is no phenomenological fact of the matter concerning the phenomenon of apparent motion because it is impossible to decide between two competing explanations. I argue that the two explanations considered by Dennett are both based on the assumption that a realist account of the phenomenon must include a neat mapping between phenomenological time and objective time. (...)
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  8. Ray Brassier (2007/2009). Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Where much contemporary philosophy seeks to stave off the "threat" of nihilism by safeguarding the experience of meaning--characterized as the defining feature of human existence--from the Enlightenment logic of disenchantment, this book attempts to push nihilism to its ultimate conclusion by forging a link between revisionary naturalism in Anglo-American philosophy and anti-phenomenological realism in recent French philosophy. Contrary to an emerging "post-analytic" consensus which would bridge the analytic-continental divide by uniting Heidegger and Wittgenstein against the twin perils of scientism and (...)
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  9. Eric Bush (1974). Rorty Revisited. Philosophical Studies 25 (1-2):33-42.
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  10. Philip Cam (1978). "Rorty Revisited", or "Rorty Revised"? Philosophical Studies 33 (May):377-86.
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  11. William R. Carter (1974). On Incorrigibility and Eliminative Materialism. Philosophical Studies 28 (2):113-21.
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  12. Paul M. Churchland (2006). Eliminative Materialism [Selection From Matter and Consciousness]. In Maureen Eckert (ed.), Theories of Mind: An Introductory Reader. Rowman and Littlefield. 115.
    The identity theory was called into doubt not because the prospects for a materialist account of our mental capacities were thought to be poor, but because it seemed unlikely that the arrival of an adequate materialist theory would bring with it the nice one-to-one match-ups, between the concepts of folk psychology and the concepts of theoretical neuroscience, that intertheoretic reduction requires. The reason for that doubt was the great variety of quite different physical systems that could instantiate the required functional (...)
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  13. John M. Collins (2000). Theory of Mind, Logical Form and Eliminativism. Philosophical Psychology 13 (4):465-490.
    I argue for a cognitive architecture in which folk psychology is supported by an interface of a ToM module and the language faculty, the latter providing the former with interpreted LF structures which form the content representations of ToM states. I show that LF structures satisfy a range of key features asked of contents. I confront this account of ToM with eliminativism and diagnose and combat the thought that "success" and innateness are inconsistent with the falsity of folk psychology. I (...)
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  14. James W. Cornman (1968). On the Elimination of 'Sensations' and Sensations. Review of Metaphysics 22 (September):15-35.
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  15. Charles F. Donovan (1978). Eliminative Materialism Reconsidered. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 8 (June):289-303.
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  16. Gerald Doppelt (1977). Incorrigibility, the Mental, and Materialism. Philosophy Research Archives 3.
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  17. Nicholas Everitt (1983). How Not to Solve a Problem for the Eliminative Materialist. Mind 92 (October):590-92.
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  18. Nicholas Everitt (1981). A Problem for the Eliminative Materialist. Mind 90 (February):428-34.
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  19. Paul K. Feyerabend (1969). Science Without Experience. Journal of Philosophy 66 (November):791-795.
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  20. Paul K. Feyerabend (1963). Materialism and the Mind-Body Problem. Review of Metaphysics 17 (September):49-67.
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  21. Paul K. Feyerabend (1963). Mental Events and the Brain. Journal of Philosophy 40 (May):295-6.
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  22. Danny Frederick (2012). Critique of an Argument for the Reality of Purpose. Prolegomena 11 (1):25-34.
    Schueler has argued, against the eliminativist, that human purposive action cannot be an illusion because the concept of purpose is not theoretical. He argues that the concept is known directly to be instantiated, through self-awareness; and that to maintain that the concept is theoretical involves an infinite regress. I show that Schueler’s argument fails because all our concepts are theoretical in the sense that we may be mistaken in applying them to our experience. As a consequence, it is conceivable that (...)
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  23. Francisco Calvo Garzón (2001). Can We Turn a Blind Eye to Eliminativism? International Journal of Philosophical Studies 9 (4):485 – 498.
    In this paper I shall reply to two arguments that Stephen Stich (1990; 1991; 1996) has recently put forward against the thesis of eliminative materialism. In a nutshell, Stich argues that (i) the thesis of eliminative materialism, according to which propositional attitudes don't exist, is neither true nor false, and that (ii) even if it were true, that would be philosophically uninteresting. To support (i) and (ii) Stich relies on two premises: (a) that the job of a theory of reference (...)
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  24. Paul Giladi (2014). Liberal Naturalism: The Curious Case of Hegel. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (2):248-270.
  25. Nada Gligorov (2010). The Revisability of Commonsense Psychology. Theoria 53 (2):53-61.
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  26. Gordon G. Globus (1989). The Strict Identity Theory of Schlick, Russell, Maxwell, and Feigl. In M. Maxwell & C. Wade Savage (eds.), Science, Mind, and Psychology: Essays in Honor of Grover Maxwell. University Press of America.
  27. Rew A. Godow Jr & Edward R. Wierenga (1976). Denotation and Eliminative Materialism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 36 (3):391 - 402.
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  28. Rew A. Godow Jr & Edward R. Wierenga (1976). Denotation and Eliminative Materialism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 36 (3):391 - 402.
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  29. Rew A. Godow (1976). Eliminative Materialism and Denotation. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 36.
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  30. Russell B. Goodman (1974). A Note on Eliminative Materialism. Journal of Critical Analysis 5 (January-April):80-83.
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  31. Theodore Guleserian (1971). On Two Aspects of Eliminative Materialism. Philosophy of Science 38 (2):282-289.
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  32. Graham Harman (2011). The Problem with Metzinger. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 7 (1):7-36.
    This article provides a critical treatment of the ontology underlying Thomas Metzinger’s Being No One. Metzinger asserts that interdisciplinary empirical work must replace ‘armchair’ a priori intuitions into the nature of reality; nonetheless, his own position is riddled with unquestioned a priori assumptions. His central claim that ‘no one has or has ever had a self’ is meant to have an ominous and futuristic ring, but merely repeats a familiar philosophical approach to individuals, which are undermined by reducing them downward (...)
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  33. David R. Hiley (1980). The Disappearance Theory and the Denotation Argument. Philosophical Studies 37 (April):307-20.
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  34. David R. Hiley (1978). Is Eliminative Materialism Materialistic? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 38 (March):325-37.
    RORTY'S INITIAL VERSION OF MATERIALISM HAS RECEIVED TWO\nLINES OF CRITICISM. ONE HAS BEEN THE CHARGE BY LYCAN AND\nPAPAS THAT HIS FORM OF ELIMINATIVE MATERIALISM IS\nINCOHERENT. THE OTHER, PRESSED BY BERNSTEIN AND CORNMAN,\nMAINTAINS THAT IT IS INADEQUATE. I SHOW THAT RORTY CAN MEET\nBOTH CRITICISMS BUT IN MEETING THEM THE PLAUSIBILITY OF HIS\nPOSITION BECOMES DETACHED FROM ANY SPECIFICALLY\nMATERIALISTIC CLAIMS. RATHER, IT SIMPLY BECOMES A\nNIHILISTIC CLAIM ABOUT DESCRIPTIVE VOCABULARIES.
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  35. Harry Howard (1999). If Not Functionalism, Then What? Eliminative Materialism? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (6):955-956.
    The isomorphism between relational structures advocated by Palmer corresponds quite closely to Paul Churchland's theory of “state-space semantics,” so much so that one can be used to elucidate problematic areas in the other. The resulting hybrid shows eliminative materialism to be superior to functionalism as a theory of mental phenomena and seems to provide the best ontology for cognitive science.
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  36. Mark Leon (1996). Sensations, Error, and Eliminative Materialism. Southern Journal of Philosophy 34 (1):83-95.
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  37. William G. Lycan (1976). Quine's Materialism. Philosophia 6 (March):101-30.
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  38. William G. Lycan & George S. Pappas (1972). What is Eliminative Materialism? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 50 (August):149-59.
    In 19651 Richard Rorty defended a theory of mind which has since come to be called' eliminative materialism'. The theory has attained some status as a distinct, autonomous brand of materialism; and it has been criticized at length in the literature, ... \n.
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  39. M. Maxwell & C. Wade Savage (eds.) (1989). Science, Mind, and Psychology: Essays in Honor of Grover Maxwell. University Press of America.
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  40. Stephen Mills (1989). Eliminative Materialism, the Reality of the Mental, and Folk Psychology. Irish Philosophical Journal 6 (1):148-163.
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  41. Adam Morton (1982). Review of Paul Churchland The Plasticity of Mind. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 91 (2):299-303.
    I assess Churchland's views on folk psychology and conceptual thinking, with particular emphasis on the connection between these topics.
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  42. Melinda J. Muse (1997). The Implicit Dualism in Eliminative Materialism: What the Churchlands Aren't Telling You. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 17 (1):56-66.
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  43. P. F. O'Gorman (1989). Mentalism-Cum-Physicalism Vs Eliminative Materialism. Irish Philosophical Journal 6 (1):133-147.
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  44. Pascal O'Gorman (1990). The Naturalization of Epistemology and Eliminative Materialism. Irish Philosophical Journal 7 (1/2):79-103.
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  45. John M. Preston (1989). Folk Psychology as Theory or Practice? The Case for Eliminative Materialism. Inquiry 32 (September):277-303.
    One foundation of Eliminative Materialism is the claim that the totality of our ordinary resources for explaining and predicting behaviour, ?Folk Psychology?, constitutes a theoretical scheme, potentially in conflict with other theories of behaviour. Recent attacks upon this claim, as well as the defence by Paul Churchland, are examined and found to be lacking in a suitably realistic conception of theory. By finding such a conception, and by correctly identifying the level of conceptual structures within which Folk Psychology is located, (...)
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  46. Joel Pust (1999). External Accounts of Folk Psychology, Eliminativism, and the Simulation Theory. Mind and Language 14 (1):113-130.
    Stich and Ravenscroft (1994) distinguish between internal and external accounts of folk psychology and argue that this distinction makes a significant difference to the debate over eliminative materialism. I argue that their views about the implications of the internal/external distinction for the debate over eliminativism are mistaken. First, I demonstrate that the first of their two external versions of folk psychology is either not a possible target of eliminativist critique, or not a target distinct from their second version of externalism. (...)
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  47. Willard V. Quine (1966). On Mental Entities. In W. V. Quine (ed.), The Ways of Paradox and Other Essays. Random House.
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  48. William Ramsey, Eliminative Materialism. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Eliminative materialism (or eliminativism) is the radical claim that our ordinary, common-sense understanding of the mind is deeply wrong and that some or all of the mental states posited by common-sense do not actually exist. Descartes famously challenged much of what we take for granted, but he insisted that, for the most part, we can be confident about the content of our own minds. Eliminative materialists go further than Descartes on this point, since they challenge of the existence of various (...)
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  49. Robert C. Richardson (1981). Disappearance and the Identity Theory. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 11 (September):473-85.
    We have no schema for comprehending how a radical revision of our conceptual scheme such as that embraced by "eliminative materialism" could possibly be rationally justified. This general point is illustrated and pressed through an examination of richard rorty's classic defense of the "disappearance form of the identity theory." it is argued that 1) though more standard critiques of rorty fail, 2) rorty fails to make out the case for the view that incorrigibility" is the "mark of the mental" to (...)
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  50. Richard Rorty (1970). In Defense of Eliminative Materialism. Review of Metaphysics 24 (September):112-21.
    Replies to an earlier article ("mind-Body identity, Privacy, And categories") by cornman and bernstein depend upon a tacit adoption of what sellars has called "the myth of the given." both critics assume that what appears to us, Or what we experience, Is what it is independently of the language we use. But there is no criterion for the adequacy of a bit of language to a bit of non-Linguistic awareness, And thus no way to show that a materialistic vocabulary would (...)
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