Eliminative materialism and the integrity of science

South African Journal of Philosophy 22 (3):207-219 (2003)
Abstract
Eliminative Materialism holds that propositional attitude folk psychology is a radically false theory of human, cognition, communication and behaviour. The paper reviews the argument that Eliminative Materialism is self-defeating. Although the argument is unsuccessful, it is argued that Eliminative Materialism ought to be considered epistemically self-undermining. Eliminative Materialism's truth would undermine the epistemic warrant of the theories (from cognitive neuroscience) typically taken as motivating the eliminativist thesis. Eliminative materialism fails to recognise that, in the psychological sciences, the mind is both the object and instrument of study. Radically changing the instrument changing the instrument changes the background conditions and epistemic underpinnings of all inquiry.
Keywords Eliminativism  Epistemology  Materialism  Science  Baker, L  Churchland, P
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