Eliminativism and Reading One's Own Mind


Some contemporary philosophers suggest that we know just by introspection that folk psychological states exist. However, such an "armchair refutation" of eliminativism seems too easy. I first attack two strategems, inspired by Descartes, on how such a refutation might proceed. However, I concede that the Cartesian intuition that we have direct knowledge of representational states is very powerful. The rest of this paper then offers an error theory of how that intuition might really be mistaken. The idea is that introspection does not detect any folk psychological states, but rather detects neural states that dispose us to certain sorts of linguistic behavior. Briefly, rather than detecting a mental appearance of the state-of-affairs that I am sitting near the fire, introspection detects a state disposing me to assert "It appears to me that I am sitting by the fire." The nature of this linguistic-dispositional state is then given a connectionist underpinning, where inputs from introspection lead to such assertive behavior. The Cartesian certainty we feel in self-ascribing such appearances is also explained. Even though I do not endorse such an error theory outright, I suggest that its tenability is enough to undercut introspection arguments against eliminativism.



External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

  • Only published works are available at libraries.

Similar books and articles

Characterizing the Imaginative Attitude.Nicholas Wiltsher - 2019 - Philosophical Papers 48 (3):437-469.
Connectionism and Eliminativism.Cynthia Macdonald - 1995 - In Cynthia Macdonald & Graham F. Macdonald (eds.), Connectionism: Debates on Psychological Explanation. Cambridge: Blackwell.
Mental representation and two kinds of eliminativism.Jonny Lee - 2018 - Philosophical Psychology 31 (1):1-24.
A Look at Meaning Eliminativism.Luca Gasparri - 2013 - Philosophy Study 3 (11).
Content, illusion, partition.York H. Gunther - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 102 (2):185-202.
Sensory States, Consciousness, and the Cartesian Assumption.Gregg Caruso - 2005 - In Nathan Smith and Jason Taylor (ed.), Descartes and Cartesianism. Cambridge Scholars Press.
What i s Folk Psychology?Stephen Stich & Ian Ravenscroft - 1994 - Cognition 50 (1-3):447-468.
Connectionism, eliminativism, and the future of folk psychology.William Ramsey, Stephen P. Stich & J. Garon - 1991 - In William Ramsey, Stephen P. Stich & D. Rumelhart (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives. Lawrence Erlbaum. pp. 499-533.
A proposed taxonomy of eliminativism.Bernardo Pino - 2017 - Co-herencia 14 (27):181-213.
Eliminative materialism.William Ramsey - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Representation and Reality. [REVIEW]J. Christopher Maloney - 1991 - Review of Metaphysics 45 (2):426-428.
Fictionalism and the folk.Adam Toon - 2016 - The Monist 99 (3):280-295.


Added to PP

117 (#123,855)

6 months
61 (#31,929)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

T. Parent
Nazarbayev University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references