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Behind the Mereological Fallacy

Philosophy 87 (3):329-352 (2012)

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  1. The Philosophical–Anthropological Foundations of Bennett and Hacker’s Critique of Neuroscience.Jasper van Buuren - 2016 - Continental Philosophy Review 49 (2):223-241.
    Bennett and Hacker criticize a number of neuroscientists and philosophers for attributing capacities which belong to the human being as a whole, like perceiving or deciding, to a “part” of the human being, viz. the brain. They call this type of mistake the “mereological fallacy”. Interestingly, the authors say that these capacities cannot be ascribed to the mind either. They reject not only materialistic monism but also Cartesian dualism, arguing that many predicates describing human life do not refer to physical (...)
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  • Seven Misconceptions About the Mereological Fallacy: A Compilation for the Perplexed.Harry Smit & Peter M. S. Hacker - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (5):1077-1097.
    If someone commits the mereological fallacy, then he ascribes psychological predicates to parts of an animal that apply only to the (behaving) animal as a whole. This incoherence is not strictly speaking a fallacy, i.e. an invalid argument, since it is not an argument but an illicit predication. However, it leads to invalid inferences and arguments, and so can loosely be called a fallacy. However, discussions of this particular illicit predication, the mereological fallacy, show that it is often misunderstood. Many (...)
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