David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Cognition 50:447-68 (1994)
For the last two decades a doctrine called ‘‘eliminative materialism’’ (or sometimes just ‘‘eliminativism’’) has been a major focus of discussion in the philosophy of mind. It is easy to understand why eliminativism has attracted so much attention, for it is hard to imagine a more radical and provocative doctrine. What eliminativism claims is that the intentional states and processes that are alluded to in our everyday descriptions and explanations of people’s mental lives and their actions are _myths_. Like the gods that Homer invoked to explain the outcome of battles, or the witches that Inquisitors invoked to explain local catastrophes, they _do not exist_. According to eliminativists, there are no such things as beliefs or desires or hopes or fears or thoughts. These putative states and processes are the badly misguided posits of a seriously mistaken theory, just like phlogiston and caloric fluid and the luminiferous ether.1
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