Philosophy of Science 53 (December):535-59 (1986)

The psychofunctionalist claim that psychological terms can be defined through the use of an experimental theory has been criticized on the grounds that it is "chauvinistic": that it denies mentality to any creature of which the selected theory is false. I analyze the "argument from science fiction" that is thought to establish this conclusion, and show that its plausibility rests on a scope ambiguity in formulations of functional definitions. One formulation is indeed chauvinistic, but an alternative rendering is not, and is perfectly consistent with ascribing mentality to creatures of which the selected psychological theory is false. This alternative interpretation of psychofunctionalism is set out in detail, defended from several objections, and finally tied to the semantics of ordinary language psychological terms
Keywords Logic  Psychology  Science
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DOI 10.1086/289339
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