Intertheoretic relations and the future of psychology

Philosophy of Science 53 (June):179-99 (1986)
In the course of defending both a unified model of intertheoretic relations in science and scientific realism, Paul Churchland has attempted to reinvigorate eliminative materialism. Churchland's eliminativism operates on three claims: (1) that some intertheoretic contexts involve incommensurable theories, (2) that such contexts invariably require the elimination of one theory or the other, and (3) that the relation of psychology and neuroscience is just such a context. I argue that a more detailed account of intertheoretic relations, which distinguishes between the relations that hold between successive theories at a particular level of analysis over time and those that hold between theories at different levels of analysis at the same time, offers grounds for denying Churchland's second and third claims and, therefore, undermines his eliminativism. The paper concludes by suggesting why it is, nonetheless, not unreasonable, given this more detailed model of intertheoretic relations, to expect the eventual elimination of common sense psychology
Keywords Psychology  Relation  Science  Churchland, P
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DOI 10.1086/289306
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