"Narrow"-mindedness breeds inaction

Behavior and Philosophy 20 (1):59-70 (1992)

David J. Buller
Northern Illinois University
Discussion of Fodor's doctrine of 'methodological solipsism' and Stich's principle of autonomy' has been concerned to show that these principles are incompatible with psychological theories which appeal to states with content (e.g. beliefs and desires). Concern with these issues, and the subsequent attempt to develop a notion of 'narrow' content which is solipsistic or autonomous, has, I believe, obscured a more fundamental issue: No theory which satisfies these principles would ever be able to explain behavior under descriptions which are in fact important to psychology. But I do not simply argue that there are descriptions under which psychological theories will not in fact explain behavior; I argue that descriptions under which psychological theories do explain behavior are not compatible with solipsistic principles. I develop several thought experiments to demonstrate this
Keywords Autonomy  Behavior  Metaphysics  Psychology  Solipsism
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