In the Mental Fiction, Mental Fictionalism is Fictitious

The Monist 96 (4):605-621 (2013)
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Abstract

Here I explore the prospects for fictionalism about the mental, modeled after fictionalism about possible worlds. Mental fictionalism holds that the mental states posited by folk psychology do not exist, yet that some sentences of folk psychological discourse are true. This is accomplished by construing truths of folk psychology as “truths according to the mentalistic fiction.” After formulating the view, I identify five ways that the view appears self-refuting. Moreover, I argue that this cannot be fixed by semantic ascent or by a kind of primitivism. Even so, I also show that the “self-refutation” charges are subtly question-begging. Nevertheless, the reply reveals that a mental fictionalist ought to be a kind of quietist.

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T. Parent
Nazarbayev University

Citations of this work

Fictionalism and the folk.Adam Toon - 2016 - The Monist 99 (3):280-295.
Composition as Identity.Meg Wallace - 2009 - Dissertation, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Saving Mental Fictionalism from Cognitive Collapse.Meg Wallace - 2016 - Res Philosophica 93 (2):405-424.
What we talk about when we talk about mental states.Zoe Drayson - 2022 - In Tamas Demeter, T. Parent & Adam Toon (eds.), Mental Fictionalism: Philosophical Explorations. Routledge. pp. 147-159.

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References found in this work

The Language of Thought.Jerry A. Fodor - 1975 - Harvard University Press.
Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Malden, Mass.: Blackwell.
Two Dogmas of Empiricism.W. Quine - 1951 - [Longmans, Green].

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