In the Mental Fiction, Mental Fictionalism is Fictitious

The Monist 96 (4):605-621 (2013)
Abstract
Here I explore the prospects for fictionalism about the mental, modeled after fictionalism about possible worlds. Mental fictionalism holds that the mental states posited by folk psychology do not exist, yet that some sentences of folk psychological discourse are true. This is accomplished by construing truths of folk psychology as “truths according to the mentalistic fiction.” After formulating the view, I identify five ways that the view appears self-refuting. Moreover, I argue that this cannot be fixed by semantic ascent or by a kind of primitivism. Even so, I also show that the “self-refutation” charges are subtly question-begging. Nevertheless, the reply reveals that a mental fictionalist ought to be a kind of quietist.
Keywords Pretense Theory  Eliminativism  Primitive Terms  Semantic Ascent  Quietism
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