Connectionism and the causal theory of action explanation

Philosophical Psychology 11 (4):511-532 (1998)
Abstract
It is widely assumed that common sense psychological explanations of human action are a species of causal explanation. I argue against this construal, drawing on Ramsey et al.'s paper, “Connectionism, eliminativism, and the future of folk psychology”. I argue that if certain connec-tionist models are correct, then mental states cannot be identified with functionally discrete causes of behavior, and I respond to some recent attempts to deny this claim. However, I further contend that our common sense psychological practices are not committed to the falsity of such connectionist models. The paper concludes that common sense psychology is not committed to the identification of mental states with functionally discrete causes of behavior, and hence that common sense psychology is not committed to the causal account of action explanation.
Keywords Causation  Connectionism  Eliminativism  Psychology  Science  Ramsey, W
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